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Hamish Macbeth by M.C. Beaton

Born in the 1950s in Yorkshire where she still lives this English woman has a keen interest in politics, travel, music and animal welfare

P. C. Hamish Macbeth Television Version

On the TV screen Robert Carlyle played Hamish Macbeth

On the TV screen Robert Carlyle played Hamish Macbeth

What’s That You Are Reading?

I first came across the author M.C.Beaton when my husband was reading a “Death Of A” book by this author.

Well it was not death of a book but one of a series of books by Marion Gibbons nee Chesney who writes the Hamish Macbeth series of books under the name of M.C.Beaton.

As if that is not complicated enough her actual maiden name was McChesney!

The titles of these books always feature the words death of a and I am currently reading Death of a Nag while my other half is reading Death of a Witch.

Death Of A.......

The series of books which feature lanky, lazy and likeable Scottish Police Constable Hamish Macbeth continues to grow

  • Death of a Gossip(1985)
  • Death of a Cad(1987)
  • Death of an Outsider(1988)
  • Death of a Perfect Wife(1989)
  • Death of a Hussy(1991)
  • Death of a Snob(1992)
  • Death of a Prankster(1992)
  • Death of a Glutton(1993)
  • Death of a Travelling Man(1993)
  • Death of a Charming Man(1994)
  • Death of a Nag(1995)
  • Death of a Macho Man(1996)
  • Death of a Dentist(1997)
  • Death of a Scriptwriter(1998)
  • Death of an Addict(1999)
  • A Highland Christmas(1999)
  • Death of a Dustman(2001)
  • Death of a Celebrity(2002)
  • Death of a Village(2003)
  • Death of a Poison Pen(2004)
  • Death of a Bore(2005)
  • Death of a Dreamer(2006)
  • Death of a Maid(2007)
  • Death of a Gentle Lady(2008)
  • Death of a Witch(2009)
  • Death of a Valentine(2010)
  • Death of a Chimney Sweep(2011)
  • Death of a Kingfisher(2012)
  • Death of Yesterday(2013)
  • Death of a Policeman(2014)
  • Death of a Liar(2015)
  • Death of a Nurse(2016)
  • Death of a Ghost(2017)
  • Death of an Honest Man(2018)

M. C. Beaton

As you can see M. C. Beaton has been a prolific writer of these light-hearted murder mysteries since 1985.

Born in 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, Marion Gibbons though has been a published writer since 1979.

She is also the author of the Agatha Raisin series of detective books.

Both of these series have been televised.

Having enjoyed the Hamish Macbeth books we bought a DVD box set of the full Hamish Macbeth TV series aired a couple of decades ago but we were disappointed. The series starring Robert Carlyle in the role of P.C. Macbeth is not a patch on the books and was dated whereas the books are timeless.

This talented author has also written novels under various pen names including

  • Ann Fairfax
  • Jennie Tremaine
  • Helen Crampton
  • Charlotte Ward
  • Sarah Chester

These books tend to be historical romance novels.

If you want to look out for a book by M. C. Beaton remember her many pen names.


The series of Hamish Macbeth books have a wide global fan-base.

Readers of these books may tend to be older readers but not exclusively.

Popular in the U.S.A. and Canada the books offer a glimpse of life in Scotland and in the Highlands in particular. It may be a rose-coloured fictitious look at that life but with a Scottish author it is at least in part fact-based.

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Hamish Macbeth

Most of the Hamish Macbeth books are not lengthy reads. With around two to three hundred pages they offer a great vacation read.

The final few pages of some of the copies is taken up by a taster of the next book in the series. There are usually just enough pages to wet your reading appetite.

The Character Hamish Macbeth

Macbeth is single though has had at least a couple of romantic affairs. This has led to some of the women of the village of Lochdubh marking his card as a philanderer.

He is also marked as a lazy copper by some including village busybodies the Currie sisters.

The fictional village of Lochdubh, pronounced Lochdoo, is set in the real Scottish county of Sutherland. The books include real and fictional locations.

Hamish Macbeth is an unambitious police officer who has a knack of solving crimes and murders in particular. In some cases this has led to offers of promotion at work though Hamish has fought this tooth and nail.

When he is finally promoted to sergeant it does not take long for him to be demoted.

With a fondness for his pets, which have included dogs and a wild cat, Macbeth is often underestimated by those who do not know him well. However he will dig away at evidence until the murderer is revealed.

Death of A

Each book has some similarities but also many differences.

M. C. Beaton manages to retain a freshness to the books even after 33 years.

Primarily detective murder mysteries the books are full of humour and include some great characters

If you want to follow the loves and life of Hamish Macbeth read the books in chronological order.

When you read these books randomly Hamish’s police and love life can get confusing.

They are great whodunits with a weaving yet simple plot.

After the scene is set and the characters revealed there is a murder. Nine times out of ten I have no idea who the murderer is until I have almost finished the book.

What’s That You Are Reading?

Deja vu and back to the start.

Sunday we sat at a favourite spot in Whitby, North Yorkshire. We are on a two-week vacation and it was a hot sunny early September day.

The small cliff top coffee shop is perfectly located and it is a pleasure to sit reading surrounded by breathtaking scenery. We took our Macbeth latest reading, ordered a couple of coffees and settled in.

But Sunday we were disturbed.

A small female voice behind us piped up with “what’s that you are reading” followed by ”is it the latest Hamish Macbeth.”

A conversation about Macbeth and M. C. Beaton followed

The woman, from Stratford-on-Avon, is an ardent M. C. Beaton fan. Unlike us she reads all her various books but like us the Hamish Macbeth books are firm favourites.

She now reads all these books via various electronic devices including, Kindle, IPad and Fire and she has the latest book Death of an Honest Man on order.

And her love affair with M. C. Beaton was started by a younger relative.

Coffee, Sea, Sand, Scenery and A Chat



If you buy the book full price expect to pay £8 to £9 more or less.

However we have bought from cut price book store The Works and bought when these books have been part of a 3 for £5 deal.

If you search around local charity shops you may bag a bargain too.

On vacation hubby managed to buy the hard back copy of Death of a Valentine for £5.

Death Of An Honest Man

© 2018 Ethel Smith


Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 09, 2018:

Thanks Peggy. Yes they are entertaining. By no means classic literature but a good read

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 08, 2018:

These sound like they would be very entertaining books to read. Thanks for your post regarding them and the character of Hamish Macbeth.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 06, 2018:

Thanks Lousie

We thought we remembered the series as good but I guess after reading the books it had paled. The books will not suit all but as you can tell I am hooked

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on September 06, 2018:

I've never read any of her books, but it sounds very interesting. I remember Hamish McBeth on TV, and thought it was very good.

Ethel Smith (author) from Kingston-Upon-Hull on September 04, 2018:

Hahaha Thanks Liz.

I will update hub. I have reads lots of these books now and many have come via charity shops. They are good when you want an entertaining easy read

Liz Westwood from UK on September 04, 2018:

I had heard of the character, but have neither read nor watched any of these. You sound like an expert on the subject. A lot of my holiday reading comes from charity shops. I find a book is cheaper than a magazine and I can easily recycle it by leaving it in the hotel for other guests to read. I shall have to look out for this series.

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