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Death of a Kingfisher

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When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames the woods "The Fairy Glen," and has brochures printed with a beautiful photograph of a kingfisher rising from a pond on the cover. It isn't long before coach tours begin to arrive. But just as the town's luck starts to turn, a kingfisher is found hanging from a branch in the woods with a noose around its neck. As a wave of vandalism threatens to ruin Braikie forever, the town turns to Hamish Macbeth. And when violence strikes again, the lawman's investigation quickly turns from animal cruelty to murder.


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When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames the woods "The Fairy Glen," and has brochures printed with a beautiful photograph of a kingfisher rising from a pond on the cover. It isn't long before coach tours begin to arrive. But just as the town's luck starts to turn, a kingfisher is found hanging from a branch in the woods with a noose around its neck. As a wave of vandalism threatens to ruin Braikie forever, the town turns to Hamish Macbeth. And when violence strikes again, the lawman's investigation quickly turns from animal cruelty to murder.

30 review for Death of a Kingfisher

  1. 5 out of 5

    Fiona MacDonald

    Okay I'll admit it, Hamish becomes more and more appealing with every book I read. I find him infuriating, selfish, arrogant yet completely endearing. Here he is down at Brailke investigating fairies, kingfishers and psychopaths, whilst trying not to fall in love with a possible suspect. Charming trip back to Scotland to see Hamish, Dick, Lugs and Sonsie. Okay I'll admit it, Hamish becomes more and more appealing with every book I read. I find him infuriating, selfish, arrogant yet completely endearing. Here he is down at Brailke investigating fairies, kingfishers and psychopaths, whilst trying not to fall in love with a possible suspect. Charming trip back to Scotland to see Hamish, Dick, Lugs and Sonsie.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelley

    I'm a huge fan of this series, but from the first page to the middle of the story, I wondered who had taken over writing these books for MC Beaton and thought he/she needed to go back and read the early books. This (and the book before this) is not the Hamish Macbeth mystery I've come to love and look forward to. The writing style is more choppier than I remember the other books, too. As I got into the book, well in to Chapter 4, it got better and kept my interest. Then, near the end, around Cha I'm a huge fan of this series, but from the first page to the middle of the story, I wondered who had taken over writing these books for MC Beaton and thought he/she needed to go back and read the early books. This (and the book before this) is not the Hamish Macbeth mystery I've come to love and look forward to. The writing style is more choppier than I remember the other books, too. As I got into the book, well in to Chapter 4, it got better and kept my interest. Then, near the end, around Chapter 11 or so, it got bad again. Not so much the writing as the plot line. Russian gangsters, pyshopath children, people we've never met, and one of the most unsatisfying endings I've read in a long time. On the positive side, the middle section still had the things I look forward to in this series: descriptions of scenery, Hamish's love for where he lives, the villagers I've come to know (although not nearly enough or as much as in the past), Hamish's pets, the steps in solving the mystery. Elspeth and Priscilla make and appearance, but I think those romance angle have worked their way out. Unless in the next book Elspeth doesn't get married again, I'm ready for a new love angle for Hamish.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Peggy

    I have read every one of the Hamish MacBeth books, loved everyone and counted the days until the next one came out, but this one was a disappointment! It just wasn't the Hamish we've come to know and love. Dick Fraser, the new constable they gave Hamish to help him was a decent addition. The mystery was too jerky and disjointed. In all there were 6 murders (and that's not counting the Kingfisher and his family!) It really was all over the place and hard to keep track. The two children, 16 and 12 I have read every one of the Hamish MacBeth books, loved everyone and counted the days until the next one came out, but this one was a disappointment! It just wasn't the Hamish we've come to know and love. Dick Fraser, the new constable they gave Hamish to help him was a decent addition. The mystery was too jerky and disjointed. In all there were 6 murders (and that's not counting the Kingfisher and his family!) It really was all over the place and hard to keep track. The two children, 16 and 12, were quite unbelievable (can't give you more details about them without spoiling it for you) and the end left you very deflated.There just wasn't enough interaction with all of the old friends we look forward to seeing when we venture back to Lochdubh. Maybe there have been too many in the series and Ms. Beaton is running out of ideas or losing interest in our lovable Hamish. Maybe she should marry him off to Elspeth and end the series on an up note!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Dagny

    Another enjoyable one in the Hamish Macbeth series. Part of it I suspected, but not in the way which it came about. Not really fond of the mystery plot, but I love this series for the characters.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    I love Hamish Macbeth. I have read all 28 of the books in the series. BUT, I did not enjoy this one as much as the others. I felt the author was reaching too far, the mystery was too complicated, the characters too over the top. Usually her characters are the center of the story. In this one, Hamish was so busy running from place to place and uncovering one bizarre clue after another, that I often felt lost. Then, to add insult to injury, there was no true resolution to the crime. Not good.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy Stephenson

    Really enjoyed this latest edition to M. C. Beaton's "Death of a ..." series. I always enjoy going to Lochdubh (in Scotland) and finding Hamis MacBeth in his little police station, staying 10 steps ahead of his superiors in Strathbane. Death of a Kingfisher is a mystery involving the deaths of 2 individuals in the same village. One is a cranky old woman whose family stands to get a lot of money when she dies. However, there is a "problem" with the will. The old woman might not win "Grandmother o Really enjoyed this latest edition to M. C. Beaton's "Death of a ..." series. I always enjoy going to Lochdubh (in Scotland) and finding Hamis MacBeth in his little police station, staying 10 steps ahead of his superiors in Strathbane. Death of a Kingfisher is a mystery involving the deaths of 2 individuals in the same village. One is a cranky old woman whose family stands to get a lot of money when she dies. However, there is a "problem" with the will. The old woman might not win "Grandmother of the Year", but compared to her grandkids, she's an angel. MacBeth also meets a gorgeous young woman who unfortunately for MacBeth, is married. That doesn't stop him from going on at least 2 dinner plates. However, one of his ex-girlfriends "helps" him see that what he is doing is wrong and MacBeth does stop pursuing the young lady. Hamish has a new constable with him. The gentleman is older and is close to retiring. Hopefully he'll be around for at least another book (or two!). Sonsie and Lugs (the dog & wild cat Hamish owns) are of course getting in the way. Overall, I was sad to have the book end. However, the way it ended, there might be a sequel of sorts Witt the grand kids being involved. I wouldn't mind seeing them come back, even though they seem to be evil geniuses in the making. If you like mysteries and reading about different locales, and having a local copper outwit his superiors on a regular basis, you'll like not only this book, but the entire Hamigh MacBeth series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Schwartz

    Not the Hamish that I have come to know and love. I usually love Hamish Macbeth, but in this book, he just doesn't seem to have his most loveable characteristics such as his usual sudden flashes of enlightment and his doggedness once he's getting close to figuring out the mystery, or his wonderful quick wit which I didn't see much in this book. The book isn't bad, but it just isn't what I have come to expect from this author. The mystery is actually pretty good, but Hamish seemed to be stumbling Not the Hamish that I have come to know and love. I usually love Hamish Macbeth, but in this book, he just doesn't seem to have his most loveable characteristics such as his usual sudden flashes of enlightment and his doggedness once he's getting close to figuring out the mystery, or his wonderful quick wit which I didn't see much in this book. The book isn't bad, but it just isn't what I have come to expect from this author. The mystery is actually pretty good, but Hamish seemed to be stumbling a bit. I like his new constable Dick. I think he shows real promise as a foil to Hamish's intelligence. I didn't care for how the book ended either since it left a lot of unsettled business which I know will reappear in the next book, and partiuclarly these two wicked characters which I really don't care to read about again. I didn't find them particularly believable. I will still read Hamish as he is still one of my favourite fictional characters.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anastasia

    Death of a Kingfisher is the 27th book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series. Buchan's Wood in the village of Braikie in the Scottish Highlands has become a major tourist attraction and becomes targetted by vandalism starting with the murder of a kingfisher and his family and leading to the murder of a nearby resident. It is always a pleasure to catch up with Hamish Macbeth and the villagers of Lochdubh with all their eccentricities. Another fast paced mystery with plenty of happenings to keep Ha Death of a Kingfisher is the 27th book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series. Buchan's Wood in the village of Braikie in the Scottish Highlands has become a major tourist attraction and becomes targetted by vandalism starting with the murder of a kingfisher and his family and leading to the murder of a nearby resident. It is always a pleasure to catch up with Hamish Macbeth and the villagers of Lochdubh with all their eccentricities. Another fast paced mystery with plenty of happenings to keep Hamish occupied. Unfortunately his love life has not improved. Another excellent and entertaining mystery and a very relaxing read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Una Tiers

    On the second read, the plot feels forced, and the resolutions come too quickly. The reader (this was an audiobook) went so far on the accent, I couldn't understand the words. Disappointing overall. The regular characters had only cameo appearances. On the second read, the plot feels forced, and the resolutions come too quickly. The reader (this was an audiobook) went so far on the accent, I couldn't understand the words. Disappointing overall. The regular characters had only cameo appearances.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    This was my least favorite so far. I found it totally ridiculous.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    It was great to be back in Hamish-land, and while similar details, circumstances, and procedures - which are inevitable, this being the 27th book in the series - occurred, I still love reading about Hamish, his "beasts," and the life of his Highland village. The crimes in this case felt a little inconclusive, but some of the characters were creepy and it was a fun read. It was great to be back in Hamish-land, and while similar details, circumstances, and procedures - which are inevitable, this being the 27th book in the series - occurred, I still love reading about Hamish, his "beasts," and the life of his Highland village. The crimes in this case felt a little inconclusive, but some of the characters were creepy and it was a fun read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marlene

    I got hooked on M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series back when I used to drive a lot. Notice I said hooked. Rather like a trout in Macbeth's lovely Highland village of Lochdubh, I was caught, and now I can't escape the net. The latest entry in the series is Death of a Kingfisher. The Kingfisher in this instance is a beautiful bird, the showpiece of The Fairy Glen, a new tourist attraction at the nearby village of Braikie. The locals weren't to happy about The Fairy Glen, not at first, but it's bro I got hooked on M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series back when I used to drive a lot. Notice I said hooked. Rather like a trout in Macbeth's lovely Highland village of Lochdubh, I was caught, and now I can't escape the net. The latest entry in the series is Death of a Kingfisher. The Kingfisher in this instance is a beautiful bird, the showpiece of The Fairy Glen, a new tourist attraction at the nearby village of Braikie. The locals weren't to happy about The Fairy Glen, not at first, but it's brought tourist traffic and tourist money to an economically depressed area of Sutherland, and the owner, Mary Leinster, has charmed the pants off of any opposition. In the case of her male opposition, possibly literally. She's also played successfully on long-held superstitions. Mary doesn't just claim to have the "second-sight", her vision of a boy falling in the pond came true, and the boy nearly drowned. But the death of the beautiful kingfisher was no accident: the bird, his mate and their chicks were poisoned. The kingfisher is the first to die, but not the last. And the other deaths are human. First a wealthy and elderly woman dies when her motorized wheelchair lift practically skyrockets her up a staircase, and it is discovered that the seatbelt of the chair was tampered with. The woman may have been a cantankerous old baggage, but she didn't deserve to fly through her own skylight. Then it's discovered that she was robbed before she was killed. After that, murders turn up all over the township, as anyone who hints at knowledge of the murder or the robbery is mysteriously eliminated before the police can question them. And what about the police? Hamish Macbeth is the local constable in Lochdubh. His tiny station covers most of the small towns and villages in the county of Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands, which is actually very far north. Hamish wants to be sure he stays in Lochdubh, the place he loves, and does not get sent to the "big city" of Strathbane. So Hamish usually makes sure that credit for solving the crime goes to someone else, so that he can remain just where he is. However, he continually worries that budget cuts may close all of the local stations, and there won't be any place for him except Strathbane. This crime has him stumped. The suspects always seem to have an alibi, and the alibi is usually CCTV. But there are two sets of crimes. The murders, and the robbery. Once Hamish realizes that there may be two sets of perpetrators, and that there are ways to fool CCTV, he's well on his way to solving this mess, and getting back to his life. Escape Rating B: Hamish is a likeable character, and this is a police procedural series although sometimes Hamish spends more time trying to figure out a way around the procedures than using them. But once he figures out which way the crime might have gone, it's easy to get caught up in the chase. One of the very interesting things about Hamish is that he has found the place he wants to be in life, and is doing everything he can to stay there. At the same time, he needs to make sure justice is done. So he lets others take the credit. Something I discovered recently: BBC Scotland loosely based a TV series on the Hamish Macbeth series between 1995 and 1997. In the books, Hamish is described as very tall, thin and with bright red hair. The actor who portrayed Hamish in the series is Robert Carlyle, best known in the U.S. as Doctor Nicholas Rush in Stargate Universe, and Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold in Once Upon a Time. Hamish is extremely likable. Rush and Gold are anything but. I keep wondering which one would be considered casting against type?

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicole-Rose

    When you're the only cop in town, but you've got a bird funeral to go to. Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I didn't have as much of a problem with this one as I did with the last one. Although, like in Chimney Sweep, the people of Lochdubh barely make appearances in this one. And I'm really hoping this isn't going to be the new norm. My very intelligent thoughts while reading Death of a Kingfisher: - If I counted correctly, there were nine murders in this one. I would say it's over-the-top, bu When you're the only cop in town, but you've got a bird funeral to go to. Maybe an unpopular opinion, but I didn't have as much of a problem with this one as I did with the last one. Although, like in Chimney Sweep, the people of Lochdubh barely make appearances in this one. And I'm really hoping this isn't going to be the new norm. My very intelligent thoughts while reading Death of a Kingfisher: - If I counted correctly, there were nine murders in this one. I would say it's over-the-top, but at least it's better than some of the earlier novels that had like nine love interests. Apparently with Beaton, there's no such thing as too much of a horrible thing. - Mary had decent potential as a character, but of course we don't see that much of her. - I was quite amused when Hamish got super angry at Annie for being unsentimental and playing the field. I think there's a word for that. I want to say 'hypocrite', but that doesn't seem strong enough. - I love how Angela's role in the series has turned into popping up just to stimulate Hamish's otherwise-internal monologues about the case. - One of my biggest pet peeves is when author's insert "super kids" into their story. I don't care how many mafia movies they watched growing up, twelve-year-olds don't afford themselves this much agency. Try again. - "The fire had been a false alarm. Someone had set fire to a bundle of newspapers in a wastepaper bucket at the end of the corridor." That's not a false alarm. Operative words being "set fire". - Do people in the Highlands usually get engaged like five times before they finally settle down, or can I chalk this up to creative license? But seriously, congratulations, girl. I'll be looking forward to the next one.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Hanson

    This book was one of the better Hamish Macbeth stories. The mystery was interesting and it didn't dwell too much on Hamish's convoluted love life (except for when it is directly involved in the case). However, I can't help but feel that Beaton doesn't know when to end a story. The mystery seems complete and coming to a natural conclusion, but the story still rambles on for another half hour (I listen to these stories on audiobooks). Still, this book seemed more focused than others and I hope tha This book was one of the better Hamish Macbeth stories. The mystery was interesting and it didn't dwell too much on Hamish's convoluted love life (except for when it is directly involved in the case). However, I can't help but feel that Beaton doesn't know when to end a story. The mystery seems complete and coming to a natural conclusion, but the story still rambles on for another half hour (I listen to these stories on audiobooks). Still, this book seemed more focused than others and I hope that the trend continues in the next book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Poor Hamish has been assigned another constable to share his police station in Lochdubh but at least this time it's someone Hamish can relate to: Constable Dick Fraser, an older fellow with little ambition who was "marking his time until retirement." At first Hamish was frustrated by the man's lack of action -- perhaps it was cutting a bit too close to home? -- but he then began to appreciate Fraser's ability to chat with locals and remember all the gossip that came his way. The latter was cruci Poor Hamish has been assigned another constable to share his police station in Lochdubh but at least this time it's someone Hamish can relate to: Constable Dick Fraser, an older fellow with little ambition who was "marking his time until retirement." At first Hamish was frustrated by the man's lack of action -- perhaps it was cutting a bit too close to home? -- but he then began to appreciate Fraser's ability to chat with locals and remember all the gossip that came his way. The latter was crucial on a few occasions, as Hamish had Fraser tap into various gossip networks to help fill in the blanks as Hamish investigated not just one but multiple murders in a neighboring Scottish town. If you can't already tell, I loved this book! It was much more complicated than many earlier Hamish MacBeth mysteries but I enjoyed it anyway. I'm interested to see how much longer Fraser will stick around!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    The latest installment in this series is not your typical Hamish Macbeth story. Hamish is still trying to avoid the limelight and wants nothing more than to stay in his own little village, and maybe find true love at long last. Except there is one thing he wants more than all of these things – justice for those who were wronged and murdered. This tale is one of M. C. Beaton’s more complicated story-lines. As one thing leads to another, and so forth, seemingly unrelated events become connected. A The latest installment in this series is not your typical Hamish Macbeth story. Hamish is still trying to avoid the limelight and wants nothing more than to stay in his own little village, and maybe find true love at long last. Except there is one thing he wants more than all of these things – justice for those who were wronged and murdered. This tale is one of M. C. Beaton’s more complicated story-lines. As one thing leads to another, and so forth, seemingly unrelated events become connected. Along with some likable if quirky characters are some very despicable ones as well. Don’t make any snap judgments about who to trust or who is guilty; your ideas are likely to change along the way. Aided by new constable, likable but lazy Dick Fraser, Hamish seems to be on top of things and hot on the trail. But will the stars in his eyes cloud his vision? Or will his ancestral belief in fairies rise to the surface to sway his thinking? There is plenty of action in this cozy to keep you turning pages.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Lanahan

    This was a very quick read, maybe because all the characters are the same? And they don't grow? I am growing weary with this series. Beaton is phoning it in, and it shows. Sociopathic murderers, Russian oil billionaires, and an elaborate county-house murder are all a bit too much when taken together. Blair's behavior is too ridiculous to believe he'd be allowed to stay on the force, and the relentless string of killings are unbelievable in a small community. The thing is, all the elements of a g This was a very quick read, maybe because all the characters are the same? And they don't grow? I am growing weary with this series. Beaton is phoning it in, and it shows. Sociopathic murderers, Russian oil billionaires, and an elaborate county-house murder are all a bit too much when taken together. Blair's behavior is too ridiculous to believe he'd be allowed to stay on the force, and the relentless string of killings are unbelievable in a small community. The thing is, all the elements of a good story are there, but they don't come together to make this anything more than a contractual-obligation novel. For some reason, Beaton is trying to shoehorn in as many plot elements into the story as possible. The story would be much more satisfying if she stuck with one or two elements and left it at that. A story about a thief and a murder would be grand. A story about a thief and a murder and sociopaths and billionaires and...and,,,and is just too much.

  18. 4 out of 5

    G Hodges

    Hamish MacBeth is one of the few male leads in cozy mysteries. He is a terrific character. Perceived as very phlegmatic, he actually has strong emotions, it just seems that he is going at a slightly slower speed than normal while the world around him is going slightly more quickly. The secondary characters are very strong also and the 'evil doers' are only slightly caricatures. But not always. Like in this book. They have a back story and you see why they behave the way they do. The book may see Hamish MacBeth is one of the few male leads in cozy mysteries. He is a terrific character. Perceived as very phlegmatic, he actually has strong emotions, it just seems that he is going at a slightly slower speed than normal while the world around him is going slightly more quickly. The secondary characters are very strong also and the 'evil doers' are only slightly caricatures. But not always. Like in this book. They have a back story and you see why they behave the way they do. The book may seem convoluted in the beginning, but the strands are pulled together at the end, almost. I am looking forward to the next installment. Kudos to Ms. Beaton. I do not want to see the TV program. Robert Carlyle is a good actor but he is not Hamish MacBeth.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    Oh, I do love my Hamish Macbeth cozy mysteries. Each one is like a delicious chocolate mint you've been waiting to savor. While I'm quite aware that the books in the series aren't great literature, they are full of great characters, humor, mystery, and all things Scottish. For me, they provide a completely relaxing read, where my mind can float lazily in a pool of warm fuzzies. In this particular tale, the reader can even learn a thing or two about the Kingfisher bird. M.C. Beaton has once again Oh, I do love my Hamish Macbeth cozy mysteries. Each one is like a delicious chocolate mint you've been waiting to savor. While I'm quite aware that the books in the series aren't great literature, they are full of great characters, humor, mystery, and all things Scottish. For me, they provide a completely relaxing read, where my mind can float lazily in a pool of warm fuzzies. In this particular tale, the reader can even learn a thing or two about the Kingfisher bird. M.C. Beaton has once again succeeded in creating a world and story that delights the followers of Hamish Macbeth.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jan Polep

    I think it was Janet who said the killer came out of left-field. Right on. I waited, and waited, and waited for the latest in the Hamish MacBeth series, set in the highlands of Scotland, and was so disappointed by the farfetched ending. It's as if Beaton got tired of writing this one and just "winged it" at the end. I love all the quirky characters but Hamish seems to be in a rut with his police and private life. Come on Beaton, get with it! I think it was Janet who said the killer came out of left-field. Right on. I waited, and waited, and waited for the latest in the Hamish MacBeth series, set in the highlands of Scotland, and was so disappointed by the farfetched ending. It's as if Beaton got tired of writing this one and just "winged it" at the end. I love all the quirky characters but Hamish seems to be in a rut with his police and private life. Come on Beaton, get with it!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kay

    After 27 books it's hard to imagine that the writing in this series would change but it's true. Not that it's great writing, far from it, but there is much more flesh to the story and you have to love Hamish Macbeth no matter what the author does to the story. This time Hamish has another policeman "helping" him and living in the police cottage. Dick is actually a great addition to the story line. I hope he stays for at least a few more books. After 27 books it's hard to imagine that the writing in this series would change but it's true. Not that it's great writing, far from it, but there is much more flesh to the story and you have to love Hamish Macbeth no matter what the author does to the story. This time Hamish has another policeman "helping" him and living in the police cottage. Dick is actually a great addition to the story line. I hope he stays for at least a few more books.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten "keep calm there are only 4 days left"

    Another fun Hamish Macbeth mystery! Poor Hamish, unlucky in love, lucky in crime. He gets a new "partner" in this book. Elspeth and Priscilla make an appearance and we even have sociopathic children. This book also features one of the more unique murders I've ever heard of. I like the Agatha Raisin books, but Hamish is my first love! Another fun Hamish Macbeth mystery! Poor Hamish, unlucky in love, lucky in crime. He gets a new "partner" in this book. Elspeth and Priscilla make an appearance and we even have sociopathic children. This book also features one of the more unique murders I've ever heard of. I like the Agatha Raisin books, but Hamish is my first love!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zakiya

    This is the first book by M.C. Beaton I've read and my review is going to no doubt reflect that. Plus, I don't generally read murder mysteries as they just don't appeal to me. But anyway, this book was a gift from a friend so I figured I must give it a try. As far as the characters go, I didn't really "get into" any of them. I wasn't that enamored by Hamish Macbeth, Constable Fraser, or the female characters. The only people I was mildly interested in were Olivia and Charles, the psychopathic chi This is the first book by M.C. Beaton I've read and my review is going to no doubt reflect that. Plus, I don't generally read murder mysteries as they just don't appeal to me. But anyway, this book was a gift from a friend so I figured I must give it a try. As far as the characters go, I didn't really "get into" any of them. I wasn't that enamored by Hamish Macbeth, Constable Fraser, or the female characters. The only people I was mildly interested in were Olivia and Charles, the psychopathic children. I found myself wanting the book to dive into their psychological wellbeing more than anything else. But I know that's not what this novel was trying to do — fair enough. The plotline was as you'd expect for a short murder mystery. I found the pacing to be good, although I thought the book would end when they solved the murder case, which it didn't. Maybe that's something this genre does a lot — again, I'm not familiar with it. The writing style was okay. I don't usually like books with dialects included in the speech since I don't understand them, but I found this one to be cleverly done and rather enjoyable. I finished it in 2 or so days, but by the end, I wasn't sure if I was reading it just to finish. I think there was a bit of that, but mostly I did enjoy the read. *I'll be writing longer, better-formulated reviews once I launch my blog, but I'll leave this one here for now!*

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

    The plot seems forced in this novel. Obstacles are resolved in two or three sentences. At many points the reader overdoes the accent to the point where you have to rewind or lose the words. Overall, a stark disappointment for Hamish Macbeth.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Another good Hamish novel. The body count was pretty high in this one - not sure there is anyone left!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Kemp

    Greed and avarice lead to the death of a family of kingfishers. Another great great story. Thank you M C Beaton

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    This story took a few more turns than previous MacBeth stories. Almost as though there were different stories that morphed into other stories. Perhaps Beaton was fighting to get out of a formulaic rut, or perhaps she wanted to keep the reader guessing. There seemed to be the usual storyline where MacBeth becomes enamored with a lovely lady who turns up dead and then, as usual, turns out to be evil. But he went through a number of people this time who appear innocent and unrelated, but then she s This story took a few more turns than previous MacBeth stories. Almost as though there were different stories that morphed into other stories. Perhaps Beaton was fighting to get out of a formulaic rut, or perhaps she wanted to keep the reader guessing. There seemed to be the usual storyline where MacBeth becomes enamored with a lovely lady who turns up dead and then, as usual, turns out to be evil. But he went through a number of people this time who appear innocent and unrelated, but then she somehow ties them altogether. I think what I mean is that the story had so many subplots that were not really related to the overarching theme, which resulted in a certain amount of inconsistency. Also, without giving anything away, I really don't like stories that include psychopathic children. It makes me a little sick to my stomach. This was one of Beaton's later novels. Maybe she was running out of ideas.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jill Holmes

    Hamish Macbeth is one of my favourite detectives. He is, indeed, a canny Scot who watches over his patch in the Highlands with loving care but sometimes with the barest patience for his countrymen and fellow coppers. The ginger-haired lanky police constable is saddled with three huge burdens as this story begins: one is Constable Dick Fraser who is lazy beyond belief and has been assigned to Macbeth; another is Mrs. Colchester and her family who are new additions to the village of Braikie in Mac Hamish Macbeth is one of my favourite detectives. He is, indeed, a canny Scot who watches over his patch in the Highlands with loving care but sometimes with the barest patience for his countrymen and fellow coppers. The ginger-haired lanky police constable is saddled with three huge burdens as this story begins: one is Constable Dick Fraser who is lazy beyond belief and has been assigned to Macbeth; another is Mrs. Colchester and her family who are new additions to the village of Braikie in Macbeth's territory; and the third is 'the Fairy Glen', a place a rare natural beauty operated for tourists by Mary Leinster, a stunning pixy of a lady who fascinates Macbeth (and his weakness for petite females). The mystery begins when a murder is committed in the Fairy Glen. After calling in his superiors from the blighted city of Strathbane, Macbeth discovers the murder victim is a kingfisher, a beautiful bird depicted on the tourist brochures for the Glen. In fact, the bird and its family have been killed in spectacular fashion, and press from as far as London come to cover the ceremonial funeral and the associated hoo-ha. A wave of vandalism follows the murder of the bird, and the dreadful Mrs. Colchester is the next victim of murder most unusual. Macbeth fears the worst and begins to suspect that the murders and other goings-on are related to a Russian oligarch and his wide-ranging (and not necessarily legal) business dealings. Furthermore, Macbeth suspects Mrs. Colchester's grandchildren are young psychopaths and her daughter and son-in-law are greedy to, perhaps, a murderous extreme. Mrs. Colchester has left the 'Fairy Glen' (part of her property) to Mary Leinster's trust, causing jealousy among the family members and others who want the valuable land and making the lovely but devious Mary a target for further intrigue. Macbeth doesn't (openly, at least) share his fellow Scots' belief in fairies, but supernatural occurrences do seem to be part of the swath of evil crossing Macbeth's territory. He has to cope with the specters of girlfriends past appearing during his intense sleuthing as well as the curse of the fellow policeman in the form of the should-be-retired Dick Fraser. Can Macbeth solve the crimes without incurring further anger from superior officers and while preserving his own small police station from economic elimination? Can he save the children involved, despite their pathological leanings? Will the kingfishers return to Fairy Glen? This is not my favourite of the Macbeth mysteries because I found some of the personalities and happenings a touch too far out. I adore Hamish, however, and greatly enjoyed the rollercoaster ride that is this story. The key to enjoying the Hamish Macbeth mysteries is just that simple--recognizing the foibles of human nature as universal and accepting some of the outrageous moments for the fun they are. These apparent extremes constitute successful crafting of these particular mysteries. With each new Macbeth mystery (and this is number 28), I gladly raise a glass of single malt and think, "Lead on, Macbeth!".

  29. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    I wait patiently for the new Hamish MacBeth book each February and am always delighted after I finish it. Then, I start the wait all over again. After so many MacBeth stories it seems that M.C. Beaton has to stretch to find reasons for more people getting murdered, but the recuring characters always bring a sense of familiarity to the stories. Hamish still struggles with his love life and his past girlfriends, his animals still play an important part in his life and his colleagues remain a const I wait patiently for the new Hamish MacBeth book each February and am always delighted after I finish it. Then, I start the wait all over again. After so many MacBeth stories it seems that M.C. Beaton has to stretch to find reasons for more people getting murdered, but the recuring characters always bring a sense of familiarity to the stories. Hamish still struggles with his love life and his past girlfriends, his animals still play an important part in his life and his colleagues remain a constant thorn in his side. This book follows the pattern pretty closely that M.C. Beaton has established; multiple murders (all connected), danger at every turn, meddling neighbors, people not always telling Hamish everything that they know, etc. Hamish must pursue the truth, avoid danger and try to keep from being promoted or having his office closed. All-in-all this was another succesful mystery and now I look forward to the next story that will hopefully come out next February.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Larraine

    The picturesque Scottish highlands village of Braikie's woodland glen area which has been renamed "Fairy Glen." There's a savvy new tourist director with beautiful blue eyes who turns Hamish's head. When the male member of a family of kingfishers is found hanged, things go from bad to worse. Then the murders start...... Hamish is one of my favorite characters. Although Beaton's character Agatha Raisin is apparently the more popular, I personally enjoy Hamish so much more. Beaton pokes sly fun at The picturesque Scottish highlands village of Braikie's woodland glen area which has been renamed "Fairy Glen." There's a savvy new tourist director with beautiful blue eyes who turns Hamish's head. When the male member of a family of kingfishers is found hanged, things go from bad to worse. Then the murders start...... Hamish is one of my favorite characters. Although Beaton's character Agatha Raisin is apparently the more popular, I personally enjoy Hamish so much more. Beaton pokes sly fun at Scotland while also embracing its beauty and culture. Hamish is an interesting character, a local "bobby" who could actually progress except he loves being a local policeman in a peaceful village. He dreads the idea of having to live and work in a gray and depressing city. So, while he is the one who solves the crime, he makes sure that someone else gets the credit for it. This is a fast and relaxing read that will make you laugh and has enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged.

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