Today is a good day. It’s sunny and there is still some Easter chocolate left over. In other words, it’s a beautiful day to sit in the sunshine and read. This week, I decided that I wanted to read something comforting and easy after working on a Uni assignment. After falling in love with the Agatha Raisin series, I decided to give her other series ago. I decided to read: Death of a Gossip
Death of a Gossip is the first Hamish Macbeth mystery. M.C.Beaton started the Hamish Macbeth series before the Agatha Raisin series and I must admit, I could tell that she hadn’t really got into her stride yet. Death of a Gossip focuses around a fishing school in a small Scottish village. When the nastiest member of the school is murdered, Hamish Macbeth, the local constable, works towards finding the culprit. It’s a pretty nice simple story and for a day of relaxing in the sunshine and not using much brain power it was exactly the sort of book that I needed.
Hamish Macbeth is very different to Agatha Raisin and is more likable from the get go. He isn’t written to be obviously clever and is seen more as a slow methodical knowledgeable type. In fact, he seems to prefer it when people think he is being a bit dim. He seems nice and sweet and has the potential to become a very interesting character.
The rest of the characters themselves are well written but not incredibly developed. Then again, I suppose that it could be argued that they don’t need to be. It’s a relatively short story and for all I know, I might see any of them again in any of the other books.
The plot itself was admittedly a little underwhelming. There is an awful lot of talk about fishing. I know that they need to set the scene for the story and it is set in a finishing school but for someone with absolutely no knowledge of the subject, it was a bit much sometimes. It also takes quite a while to get going. I don’t think the murder occurs until nearly halfway through the story. That’s a lot of fishing talk to get through if you just want to sit down and read a mystery story! The biggest thing that bugged me about this though, I can’t see anyway for the reader to work out the solution themselves. I’ll admit, I’m not very good at solving the mysteries I read but I like to give it a go. I honestly don’t think that you can with this one. All the information is gathered from phone calls and you aren’t really given the content of the calls until they are doing the big reveal at the end. I think it risks cheating readers out of the experience a bit. Plus, if you’re not the type of reader to try and work it out for yourself, you just like watching the characters solve the case, you are denied that as well. I can’t think of a section when you see Hamish piecing things together. He just suddenly knows the answer and tells everyone.
I really wanted to like these books as much as I like the Agatha Raisin books but at the moment I can’t say I’m completely ensnared. Maybe it’s just because it’s the first book of the series and it needs to find it’s pacing. To anyone looking to try the series, I would suggest doing some digging around and maybe trying one slightly later in the series first.