AudioBook Review: Death of a Charming Man: Hamish Macbeth #10 by M.C. Beaton

AudioBook Review

What I enjoy most about the Hamish Macbeth series is the sheer fun of the listen, I first encountered this series as part of the BBC television series, and was excited to find the original genesis in audio form.  These are not tense, angst-filled stories with multiple red herrings and twists but they are wholly entertaining.

Hamish is an interesting man: with a personal life that is often fraught with anxiety and turmoil, his quiet home village of Loch Dubh is often the setting for his near-lazy style of detective work.  In this book, his relationship with Priscilla is reaching a crisis point, even as he has finally managed to ‘get the girl’.  Deciding that retreat is the better choice, he heads to the neighbouring town of Drim to get away from the stress that the changes Priscillia is looking to impose on his life are causing. 

Drim is in the midst of its own crisis: newcomer Peter Hynd has stirred up the emotions in town: men dislike him, women adore him and Hamish is convinced he is thriving on the attention.  As rapidly as he arrives, Drim disappears and a body is found.  Hamish is convinced a murder has taken place, despite the official’s thoughts to the contrary. His own relationship in turmoil, he delves deeper in to the relationships in Drim, all to find a killer.

A touch different from others, with Hamish’s relationship and Priscilla’s never-ending quest to remake him into the posh, go-getter that she believes she deserves, there is a more obvious hesitancy on Hamish’s part.  While their relationship has been a series of push and pull, and it is hard to find their suitability, her intrinsic need to change him into something that would disturb his ultimate enjoyment of life just never quite sat comfortably with me as a reader/listener.

Narration as provided by Shaun Grindell was as wonderful as I have come to expect. Perfect modulation in pitch and tone, with no great obvious effort to ‘lay on’ an uncomfortable edge to characters  for delineation, most character changes are presented with a slight tonal or pacing change.  His accent is easy to listen to, with enunciation and pronunciation that is clear and easy to understand, providing a pleasant and comfortable listen.

Hamish Macbeth stories are like an old friend: comfortable, relaxed and enjoyable: a warm cup of tea on a rainy day. In the AudioBook version, the narration provides a sense of warmth and comfort, instilling some of the calm and near laconic presence of Macbeth, without becoming dour or too skimpy.

 Stars:  Overall: 4  Story:  3  Narration: 5

AudioBook Review: Death of a Charming Man: Hamish Macbeth #10 by M.C. Beaton

Title: Death of a Charming Man
Author: M. C. Beaton
Series: Hamish Macbeth #10
Also in this series: Death of An Outsider , Death of A Perfect Wife , Death of a Greedy Woman, Death of a Prankster
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Narrator: Shaun Grindell
Published by: Blackstone Audio
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Pages: 176
Audio Length: 6 Hours: 14 minutes
Rated: four-stars
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See this Title on Goodreads

With this tenth book in a series that fans of British mysteries have come to relish more than fish 'n chips and a pint at the pub, M. C. Beaton returns with another baffling case for Hamish Macbeth, the stubborn, red-haired, one-man police department of the Highland village of Lochdubh.

Praised for her wonderful characterizations, wry humor, and authentic local color, M. C. Beaton again adds the essential ingredient for an outstanding whodunit - a plot that keeps readers guessing right up to the very end.

Hamish Macbeth's unofficial engagement to the stunning Priscilla Halburton-Smythe is reminding the constable of the old adage about answered prayers. His lovely fiancee has replaced his cozy wood stove with a modern electric one and is busy trying to "make a man of him." The only man Hamish wants to be is the one who slouches about the village, gossiping, fishing, and deftly solving a crime or two.

Deciding that this may be a good time for a little retreat, Hamish ambles over to the nearby backwater of Drim - ostensibly to check out a posh English chap who's causing a most unusual problem. Single, wealthy, and terribly attractive, newcomer Peter Hynd has thrown the middle-aged matrons of Drim into a flutter, and put their men, dour Highlanders whose feelings run deep, on a slow burn.

Hamish's instincts tell him this seemingly charming young man likes to stir up trouble, and it's not long before the seething emotions transform the sleepy village into a hotbed of threats, domestic rows, and violent murder. With Hamish's own relationship raising doubts about hearts and flowers, he's more than ready to do what he now must - investigate the darker side of love . . .

A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About M. C. Beaton

Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

While Marion wrote her historical romances under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, as well as several pseudonyms (Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward), because of her great success with mystery novels as M. C. Beaton, most of her publishers both in the U.S. and abroad use the M. C. Beaton pseudonym for all of her novels.


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