« Reading Log: Club Dead | Main | Reading Log: The Changeling Sea »

Reading Log: Death of a Gossip


I picked this one up for two reasons: 1) Amazon is doing a 4 for the price of 3 promotion; and 2) it's the basis for BBC's Hamish Macbeth TV show. If there is one thing that would convince me we need to go back to a TV-world, it would be BBC America. Hamish Macbeth is a village constable for Lochdubh (more-or-less pronounced "lock-due"), a tiny village nestled in the Scottish highlands. In both the TV series and the book, Macbeth is the man with the quiet intelligence to solve the crimes, rather than the obstreperous "big brass" from the city.

In this story, the Cartwrights are a local couple who have begun a fishing class. Every week brings in a new round of tourists hoping to catch an award-winning salmon in the Scottish rivers. The mood of this particular class is very tense, as Lady Jane Winters takes pot-shots at all of the members about some skeleton in their closet. Is it any wonder that the woman is found dead in a loch? The mystery is pretty typical, in that everyone has a motive. And readers get to learn more about the things Lady Jane uncovers.

The one story-line that I found most dated (the copyright date is 1985) is that of Alice Wilson, a young secretary who is secretly in love with her married boss. She is on the trip hoping to impress him enough that he'll leave his wife. Jeremy Blythe, a barrister with a history of womanizing and scattering pregnancies around, seems like a good distraction for Alice, to the point that she believes that by sleeping with Jeremy, he'll have to marry her. I'm not sure i was that naive in 1985, when I was only 12 years old (and let me tell you, I am the queen of naivete...). But other than those few quibbles, it was definitely a fun little read.

I don't know if it's good or bad that I saw the TV series before reading one of the books. The location is the same and the general "feel" is the same, but the show takes more liberties with the characters, which I think actually adds some depth. Of course, that's after seeing 5 or so episodes vs. reading one book, but, hey, that's life.

Yes, this makes the third book in two days, but in my defense, they're all short books. Living Dead in Dallas clocks in at 291 pages. I don't think I'll actually buy any more Beaton mysteries per se, not because I don't like them, but in this instance, I do prefer the TV series, of which I can only get series one right now, which is really annoying.


This sounds really good. I've never heard of the TV series. Any chance you could let me borrow it?