In recent weeks you may have noticed that I've been listening to a lot of M. C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth mysteries. Beaton was recommended to me first by my aunt and uncle and I jotted down both the MacBeth books and Beaton's Agatha Raisin books. But I never got around to actually picking up any of them. Then when I started to blog, I noticed the books on other people's blogs. Still I didn't get any of the books picked up until one day when I was in the library and noticed Death of a Village: A Hamish MacBeth Mystery on CD. And I thought that was a great way to give Beaton a chance. And I liked it and it was the perfect kind of book to listen to while working because the stories aren't long, not are they overly complicated. So the last time I was at the library, I picked up four more Beaton books, two of which I've listened to in the past week, including my first Agatha Raisin books.
As much as I enjoyed Death of a Village, I didn't really appreciate Beaton until I listened to Death Of A Cad and Death Of A Dreamer. In both of these books, there is only one mystery to be solved and which give Beaton longer to develop the story. There are almost no jump-out-and-scare-your-pants-off moments in Beaton and very little in the way of graphic violence or gore. They're called "cozy" mysteries for a reason. You don't have to read trying to make sure you don't miss the clues. It's not a game to see if you can solve the mystery before MacBeth does.
I gotta tell you, I'm starting to have a little bit of a crush on Hamish. The
poor guy has a lot of trouble with women. It's not that he can't attract them; he's always balancing at least a couple of them. It's just that he's a lot better at solving mysteries than he is at romancing the ladies. And he's so content in the little village of Lochdubh, that he's turned down promotions. Which doesn't necessarily impress the ladies. That and his habit of spoiling his pets.
I suppose it would be a good idea to read these books in order; I haven't and there are references in the books to previous interactions between characters that I don't get. But I've listened to enough of them know to know all about Hamish's relationships with Elspeth Grant and Priscilla Halburton, his friendship with a fellow police officer who is more than a little found of the drink and his problems with his immediate superior who tries to keep MacBeth as far away from cases as he can and steals the limelight when the cases are solved. Honestly, there are so many great characters in this village, I'm surprised this hasn't been made into a television series.
I think I've just about exhausted the library's supply of Beaton on CD. When that happens, I'll certainly start picking the books up and reading them the old-fashioned way.