Saturday, 29 September 2007

Reviews: Death of a Glutton, Death of a Cad, Death of a Snob by M.C. Beaton

Mooching has been very slow (non-existant) recently and I had though that perhaps nobody was interested in acquiring my unwanted Hamish books. However, with three mooches this week, I'm now wondering if the recent restructure of the site has helped. Like before, I've given the mooched a final read. They only take an hour each so it's an easy task and I thought I'd review them altogether because, frankly, they're all the same book anyway - just with slightly different settings and characters. Reading three in quick succession has reinforced a couple of things:
  1. Most of characters in the books are caricatures. Hamish and Priscilla aren't, as well as most of the locals and the lesser police. However, the party of suspects in each book are usually pretty one-dimensional and this is exacerbated for any character that the reader is supposed to dislike, which routinely includes the murder victim, Blair the inspector from Strathbane (and Hamish's nemesis), and Priscilla's father Colonel Halliburton-Smythe. Those characters are *boring*.

  2. The main interest in each book is Hamish/Priscilla love affair. It's the one part of the story that develops with each book, although there's still a lot of repetition. In one book (Death of a Cad) they've actually altered the 'teaser' text inside the front cover from the passage it's lifted from to imply that something more is going on between them than really is.

  3. Part of the charm of the series was the fact that the locals were characters in their own right - TV John, Rory and Esme, Lachlan McCrae and Lachie Junior. None of these people exist in the books and the books are poorer for it.

I read these three out of order, which doesn't really matter, but since then I've found a list on the internet and discovered they're still being written!!!!! I had thought that the eight I owned was it, but instead it looks like these were just the ones put out before the TV series and that M. C. Beaton will be putting out her twenty fourth in the series next year. I am both deeply fascinated and repelled.

I kinda want to get the other 16 to see whether the TV series had any impact on the later books, and also to see what happens to Hamish and Priscilla. On the other hand, I do think it would be more sensible to just mooch the books I have and close the chapter. They are excellent books for mooching, small and light and in very good condition.