Thursday, July 31, 2008
Biblionovel Review: Death of a Bore by M.C. Beaton
Beaton, M.C., "Death of a Bore", (NY: Mysterious Press, 2005).
Gangly, flaming-locked Hamish Macbeth is the constable of a small Highland Scottish village and resists promotion to big city detective work. In this novel he solves the murder of the narcissistic, boring writer who alleges to teach the village residents how to write, but prefers to just talk about himself. The villagers, full of eccentricities and self-esteem, will have none of it, however, and insist that he review their literary efforts. One by one, he curtly dismisses their prose, introducing any number of infuriated, possibly homicidal, suspects.
Before the murder, Constable Macbeth takes it upon himself to chat up the insufferable one, and let him know that noone will likely sign up for the writing classes as they are scheduled for the same night as a popular television show, but Heppel gleefully lets him know that the registration is going quite well and further tweaks him by presenting him with a copy of his "Tammerty Biscuit Award"-winning memoir, inscribed "To Hamish Macbeth. His first introduction to literature. John Heppel". I thought that Macbeth had been acting more like a town gossip than police officer in this visit, but after that obnoxious gesture, I was rooting for him all the way. Heppel further irks the township by his constant fake tan and makeup-wearing antics in front of the local television news cameras and the stage is now set for his untimely demise.
M.C. Beaton, the nom de plume for historical romance writer Marion Chesney, deftly describes each of the many characters in this book, including an admirable canine, and makes them quite memorable, whether through their dress, speech, or inner thoughts. I had read one of Beaton's books in her other mystery series featuring curmudgeonly retiree Agatha Raisin and didn't feel compelled to read all of the others, but now I have a delightful bit of catching up to do with the previous 20 (!) Hamish Macbeth books.
These are light, humorous mysteries and are perfect summer reading. Recommended for Anglophiles, dog lovers, cozy mystery readers and the biblionovel contingent.