Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Death of a Gentle Lady by M.C. Beaton

15. Death of a Gentle Lady - twenty-fourth in the Hamish Macbeth series
by M.C. Beaton
mystery, 2008
library book
finished, 3/17/10

Well, the lady is definitely not gentle.The word just happens to be her last name, the name of the man who married her when she was a hatcheck girl. Everyone in the area of Hamish Macbeth's little town of Lochdubh thinks she is a wonderful little old lady; everyone, that is, except Hamish. He doesn't like her. And of course the reader very soon agrees with him. She is cruel to her children and cruel to her servants. And also, of course, she is soon dead. She is not the only corpse. The second one is a woman from Turkey whom Hamish had planned to marry to save her from being sent home, and to save his police station from closing. Lucky for Hamish she dies before the wedding since it turns out she was lying to him; she was really a high class 'lady of the night' from Russia.

And there you have the basics of this mystery. We reconnect with some old friends: Elspeth, the journalist and Priscilla, the former love of Hamish's life. The delightful little Currie twin who always says a phrase twice makes an appearance, makes an appearance. :<)

There are many times in the story when Hamish notes how much he loves this village. The small town policeman who is truly content to be where he is. No matter how light and fluffy the mysteries are, I'm so fond of Hamish that I just don't care. He is a wonderful character. His home, which is in the police station, feels so cozy and comfortable and welcoming with his dog and his cat.

It isn't absolutely essential you read these books in order. I know I've missed a couple, but the author catches us up pretty easily. After all, not much changes in Hamish's life other than the murder victim, and that's just the way he likes it. And me too.


  1. I concur. I also know that when I'm in a reading funk and nothing is fitting that a visit to Lochdubh will always set me right.

  2. So pleased to find a kindred spirit, sprite!

  3. Kaye of Pudgy Penguin first got me started with this author. I've since then picked up about 7 of these from my library's used sale. Sounds like a fun way to spend some time!

  4. I've been wanting to give the M.C. Beatons a try.... thanks for the nudge!

  5. Staci and Elizabeth, he is a delightful character. There was a television version with the great Robert Carlyle, which though I liked him, I didn't care for the show itself so much. It felt darker than the books. (and Staci, I must look up 'pudgy penguin'-what a great name!)

  6. I loved the television program, too. Although it bore no resemblance, really, to the books. And you're right, it was quite dark.

    Funnily enough, we were once in Plockton, the village that stood in for Lochdubh in the show. We asked the saleslady in the general store about the tv show, and she, quite sternly, told us she had no idea what we were talking about. So, I suppose it wasn't a pleasant experience for them.

  7. I have read several books from the series, and my mother-in-law keeps sending more; it took me a little while to get "into" them, but now I like them almost as much as I like the Agatha Raisin series by the same author.

  8. Pamela, do you suppose it was just that person? I just did a search and this came up:

    I'm finding myself wanting to watch the series all over again!

    Librarian, I just began the next one in the series. Such reading fun!

  9. I love mysteries, and I love not being compelled to follow a certain order.

    I wanted to ask you if you've read any Ivan Doig. I'm sure you have, and I'm late to the party, but he makes me think of you. His writing is so, so wonderful, so clear and purposeful and essential and full of the outdoors. Right now I'm reading A Whistling Season, which I'll post on as soon as I finish, but really, if you've haven't yet? Pick him up. XOXO, M.

  10. Thanks, dolce bellezza for the recommendation. I've not ever read him.


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