If you are a Hamish MacBeth fan, you already know that the author hates to say goodbye. Frequently, these books have a good 30 minutes or more after the murder is solved, and I often find the complete endings charming and satisfying. In Death of a Maid, however, there are just too many endings. This book is a fun read with an interesting plot, but the last hour has a "horror movie" quality in that the main story can't seem to die out so we can get the pleasing wrap up that we usually get. If you are listening to this whole series, you will be happy with this installment. If you are looking at this series for the first time, I'd suggest you not start here (Wikipedia has a good list of the Hamish MacBeth stories under the article on M.C. Beaton; take them in order). Either way, prepare yourself to have to say goodbye to this story at least three separate times!
Second in the series, do not read out of order.
It occurred to me that these books are re-do's of Lord Peter Wimsey books, at least in terms of overall theme. I was left with the VERY strong impression that some kind of computer program either wrote this book or aided in the writing. It's okay. I love Davina Porter and will listen to her narrate just about anything. Without her, this is not worth the credit. If you love her, it is.
This book is not well edited and reads like a late draft rather than a completed manuscript. All the same, if you like Agatha Raisin, you'll like this one as well. I will say that M.C. Beaton must hate to end a story because this has ending after ending after ending to get through. I don't mind much because it stretches the stories out. It's a shame that Beaton did not take more time to develop characters along the way, though, as the story could have been fleshed out in a much more satisfying way. Unlike "As the Pig Turns" (the next in the series), this does "feel" like it was written by M.C. Beaton.
I cannot believe that M.C. Beaton wrote this book because there are way too many errors. Years have gone by since Toni Gilmour started working at the detective agency, yet she's still 18 in this story, for an example. There are a number of little things like this throughout the book, and it's frustrating. If they are going to get someone in to keep the series going under the name M.C. Beaton (a pseudonym already), fine, but at least have the ghost writer read the earlier books!
As for the plot, well, if you like Agatha Raisin then far-fetched plots don't bother you. It's impossible to believe that the body of a man could be mistaken for the body of a pig, but who cares if you are along for the ride. But if you are looking for a development of the metanarrative, then forget it. The details get muddled too much for there to be much book-to-book development.
This is straight genre writing. It's a satisfying story and a good mystery.
Yes and no. I want to listen to the other titles in this series, but I would rather this narrator were not doing them. I would never seek out this narrator. Her voice is very flat and has an odd inflection. Words like "death" sound like "dath," and I find that distracting.
It's interesting to learn a bit about wicken culture.
No, but I would certainly never look for this author or this narrator again.
Some people seem to like Scott Brick, but I find his voice to be whiney and his narration to be filled with inexplicable "profound moments." His narrative style for women and for Blacks is insultingly cliched.
There are a number of unnecessary characters in this book.
Meh. I bought this book cheap and it held just enough interest for me not to "put it down" until the end, but nothing more. There are numerous stupid little errors (like for example, a character says he is going to grill "burgers, fries, and dogs," but really, who grills fries?) It's the kind of thing that makes the writer and the editor look sloppy. The plot of the book is unbelievable to the bitter end (spoiler: the main character is never called to testify? Now, come on...) The characters seem false, especially the main male character who seems to exist without any normal human motivations.
No. I expected this to be a book for a well-educated lay reader. But a lay reader could not hope to understand the content, especially in an audio format.
This was ill-suited for an audiobook. There is much too much math here to listen to.
The performance was workmanlike. Not much good or bad to say about it.
Frustration. It's very tedious to listen to long equations being read out loud. And there are a lot of long equations in this book.
The narrative was stripped of the stories that make it fascinating and we were left with the math. A person who can understand this level of math likely already knows it. For the rest of us, there will be few who can hold these new quantitative concepts in their heads as the equations are read out loud. If you think you can and somehow you've managed to get this far in life without already knowing the book's content, then go for it. For the rest, there are many books that are much better with theory and anecdote out there. I cannot recommend this book in the audio format.
I have read many of M.C. Beaton's books. I am not sure if I would read another Hamish book, though.
This needed a more plausible story line, more deeply developed characters, and less hopelessness.
The performance is fine but not as good as some of the narrators of earlier books. The accents would often slip and the narrator didn't seem to understand the characters.
It may be time for M.C. Beaton to quit writing Hamish books, and this book has all the hallmarks of a lead-up to a sendoff. I would anticipate that the next Hamish book has him fading into the sunset in some way, and that would probably be good. The author seems to have stopped liking Hamish and the Highlands. Her stories used to make me want to fly to Inverness immediately and hire a car to drive all around northern Scotland. Now she makes it sound simply drug-ridden, depressed, and dumpy. I don't know if the author is deeply bitter or if she's just lost interest, but if you are a Hamish fan, you might leave off with Death of a Chimney Sweep.
I agree with other reviewers who don't typically like Christie's short stories, but these are ones you should not miss. Rather than short stories, each is a mini-novel with fully-developed characters and well conceived mysteries. I put off getting this book to the very end, but there was no reason to do so. Hugh Fraser's narration is as good as ever, and the novella nature of each "chapter" allows me to listen to a story a night with ease. I really liked this book!
I am an M.C. Beaton (Marion Chesney) fan, but this book did not live up to the expectations I have for her. It was competently written and had a plot that was a mild throwback to the comedy of errors genre, but the main male character was very hard to like or care about. As he developed, I grew to oppose the "romance" that was slowly evolving between the two main characters. He's a guy I would not want my sister to end up with, and I can't imagine why the female lead would want him. The mystery was fine, and I did finish the book, but this book is not in the class of Hamish Macbeth or even Agatha Raisin. Only okay.
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