M.C. Beaton, 1985 – Hamish Macbeth #1
Hamish Macbeth would really rather not work – yet, he seems to keep solving murders in spite of himself. In Death of a Gossip, Macbeth finds the killer of a rude gossip columnist whose death grieved very few. Lady Jane Withers (deceased) is one of eight people who attend the Lochdubh School of Casting: Salmon and Trout Fishing.
The Hamish Macbeth series was started well before the Agatha Raisin series, but I did not read any of the former until I was sell into the Agatha titles – I think I started in on Hamish because the library didn’t have any new Agatha Raisins. Maybe for that reason, I never felt particularly connected to the series or its characters in the Scottish village of Lochdubh, and even now the only character whose name I remember is Hamish. Macbeth is devoted to his pets, which consist of two dogs (one at at time) and a supposedly tamed wildcat.
There are two recurring characters whose presence I remember, although I didn’t recall their names until I read a little online refresher. Much as in Agatha Raisin’s world, there is a disgruntled Chief Inspector (Chief Inspector Blair from a nearby village) and a love interest named Priscilla Halburton-Smythe.
I’m giving this series nearly the same rating I applied to Agatha Raisin, because the quality of writing is present – I just read it at the wrong time. I’m assuming the timing contributed to the forgettable nature of my relationship with Hamish and his crew. Interestingly, Hamish’s world feels as if it exists in an earlier time, even though I’m quite sure it was meant to be set in present day by the author.