Thursday, 20 June 2013
Death of a Gossip is a crime novel by the author of the Agatha Raisin books, M. C. Beaton. The series of novels follows Hamish Macbeth, a countryside constable based in the Scottish Highlands as he bumbles through the solving of murders in his area.
The story of Death of a Gossip starts with an introduction to all of the individual characters, we meet them as they travel to Scotland to partake in fishing lessons from a fishing school local to Lochdubh, the town where the story is set. The many characters, as with most whodunnit's have different motives for being there, and they are gradually revealed throughout the story. The gossip of the title is Lady Jane Winters, a bolshy woman who on joining the fishing school begins to drop hints about knowing more than she should about the other students.
This is the first in the series, and as I love Beaton's other books I really hoped I would enjoy this one, but unfortunately I didn't. The story lacked connection between the main character and the rest of the characters as Hamish is painted as an outsider, a bit too weird to be of interest to the visitors to the town. Because of this he comes across as a secondary character, we don't really know him very well and Beaton doesn't make many efforts to make us want to get to know him.
The solution to the mystery was also a weakness for this mystery, it felt rushed and sudden and came out of nowhere, with hardly any set up. This made the proportions of the story feel terribly imbalanced, there was too much plot before the murder for the actual murder to feel intriguing, the real mystery lay with the different characters and their motives for visiting Scotland.
Although I didn't enjoy this story, I will definitely give the Hamish Macbeth stories another go just to be sure, they have potential, this one just wasn't quite there!