As you know I’m gobbling up books by M.C. Beaton at the moment. My first review is for the second book in her Hamish MacBeth series, which I enjoyed every bit as much as the first. The third review is for the first book in her Agatha Raisin series. I’m not as crazy about this series-so far-but it is extremely well-written. I listened to it as an audio-book.
Mimi Barbour is a prolific, multi-genre, New Times and USA Today bestseller. I thoroughly enjoyed her latest Rom-Sus, which is the second book I reviewed.
I gave all three books 5 stars on Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub.
Death of a Cad, by M.C. Beaton
From the author of the Agatha Raisin television series…
DEATH OF A CAD: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery
When Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings her London playwright fiancé home to Lochdubh, everybody in town is delighted . . . except for love-smitten Constable Hamish Macbeth. Yet his affairs of the heart will have to wait. Vile, boorish Captain Bartlett, one of the guests at Priscilla’s engagement party, has just been found murdered-shot while on a grouse hunt. Now with many titled party guests as the prime suspects, each with a reason for snuffing out the despicable captain, Hamish must smooth ruffled feathers as he investigates the case. When the hidden culprit strikes again, Hamish will find himself trying to save Priscilla from a miserable marriage-and catch a killer before he flies the coop.
My Review – A Cozy Masterpiece
In this second book in the Hamish Macbeth series, we get to know Hamish better. He’s a richly drawn, red-headed, anti-hero with a humble view of the world and his own sense of justice. Who wouldn’t love Hamish? He sends all his money to his family, deeply cares for people, and serves his community. For all of this, he wants no credit. When he helped a boy on a train, I thought my heart would break. Most people would not notice the boy or his abuse, but Hamish sees it and takes care of him.
The other characters in the story are also richly drawn. In as little as one sentence Beaton creates a total image, “Mrs. Halburton-Smythe was a faded blonde woman with quick, timid movements.” She usually writes at least a paragraph to describe each new character, but I was never bored. They are entertaining vignettes on their own.
Beaton also brings the expansive Scottish Highland setting to life. When I’m reading her books I feel as if I’m breathing the damp air and swatting the flies, as I look down on the loch.
The book is a cozy masterpiece, the story of a cad meeting his end. The pace is fast, the story seductive and the writing exemplary. I’m in awe.
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries, stories where bad guys get their due and/or the austere Scottish landscape.
Special Agent Rylee, by Mimi Barbour
Rylee couldn’t believe her rotten luck…
Being chosen as one of the agents to play bodyguard to a spoiled billionaire while sailing on a Caribbean cruise, depresses her… a lot. The dude – so important to the government that they’re willing to provide the best to protect him – won’t even know they’re in place. The big question – why her? She prefers work that matters, the dirty jobs, on the streets, in the trenches, and her boss knows it. Keeping Mr. Fancy Pants out of the clutches of a worshipping stalker, mercenaries and a man out to seek revenge for an old injustice just annoys her.
Not excited about his pending cruise, before boarding the ship, Jake Andrews sees an enticing woman on the pier and decides it might not be so bad after all. Becoming landlord to two stowaways – one being a tiny kitten – isn’t at all in his plans for this vacation either. His goal is to finish his phone app for the Pentagon, have a good long rest to heal from recent stress and take a break from being threatened, stalked and attacked.
But if he can spend some of the voyage romancing this chick, that might add enough spice to his days… and nights for the trip to prove eventful.
Eventful doesn’t even come close…
I love this story. It has everything I look for in an entertaining read: fast-paced suspense, an exotic locale, interesting characters, unexpected plot twists, and love. It’s masterfully written. I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy a good suspense story with a satisfying love story.
The Quiche of a Death, by M.C. Beaton
The first book in M. C. Beaton’s beloved Agatha Raisin mystery series—now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television.
Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry—but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…
Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe…
I love this book. Agatha is truly original and yet I found myself relating to her. It takes a great writer to create such a character. All the characters were wonderfully detailed and the plot was intriguing. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries.