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Friday, 4 March 2016

‘Death of a Liar’ by M.C. Beaton

Published (UK) by Constable,
5 February 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-78033-109-6 (HB)
Published (USA) by Grand Central Publishing,
23 Febrary 2016.
ISBN 978-1-4555-0477-0 (PB)

All the characteristics which have made the Hamish Macbeth Mystery series enjoyable and popular are once again present in this latest effort:  the constant threat to close his beloved police station, Hamish’s forlorn love life, the Scottish brogue dialogue throughout the novel, the constant competition with his superiors who steal his thunder when he solves cases, and, of course his pets.  There are a couple of challenging mysteries facing Hamish in the plot.  First of all is a telephone call he receives from a woman claiming she was raped.  It turns out when examined that she was a virgin when examined, but when she calls again saying she was being threatened Hamish ignores the plea, giving the book its title.

The further plot involves a criminal conspiracy which Hamish believes is linked to the death of the woman, who was tortured before she was murdered.

The novel revolves around Hamish attempting to solve the mystery despite efforts by his superior to keep him away from the cases and the limelight, and the usual by-play of Hamish and his subordinate.  Two previous policemen assigned to him had left to become food workers, one a chef at a local hotel, the other marrying the owner of an Italian restaurant and waiting tables there.  Now his latest may become a baker.

The series is great fun, no less excellent mysteries. Death of a Liar is  also is very enjoyable, and is

Reviewer: Theodore Feit

M.C. Beaton was born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1936 and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead.  She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York. Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write Regency romances. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name of Marion Chesney and getting fed up with 1811 to 1820, she began to write detectives stories. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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