When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames the woods "The Fairy Glen," and has brochures printed with a beautiful photograph of a kingfisher rising from a pond on the cover. It isn't long before coach tours begin to arrive. But just as the town's luck starts to turn, a kingfisher is found hanging from a branch in the woods with a noose around its neck. As a wave of vandalism threatens to ruin Braikie forever, the town turns to Hamish Macbeth. And when violence strikes again, the lawman's investigation quickly turns from animal cruelty to murder.
©2012 Marion Chesney. All rights reserved. (P)2012 AudioGo
This is one exciting but chilling story! It has the light moments of all the Macbeth books, but the bad guys in this one are truly scary. I was surprised that the author wove so many different characters and sub stories together in such a way that I was able to keep track of all of them. I'm sure the excellent narration aided with that. Blair is still the consummate jerk. Hamish is even more genius and ingenious than usual. And romance takes a back seat in this book. Did you know that fairies are not like little Tinkerbells but are supposed to be little dark men who are not necessarily friendly? Do you believe in them? You may wonder if they are real after listening to Death of a Kingfisher.
This book is delightful, especially for M C Beaton fans, who have learned to suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the odd characters that inhabit Hamish Macbeth's life and the author's amazing imagination. I expect her books to be fraught with plot twists and turns and unusual characters. The humor in this book revolved around the highlanders' belief in fairies, and I howled with laughter when listening to the description of the kingfisher's funeral.
The plot didn't exactly keep me on the "edge of my seat," but I was certainly fascinated by the crafting of the action and introduction of new characters and their motives. I've read other readers'/listeners' criticism of the personality and actions of the flat, amoral children, but I've seen that facial affect in the televised interviews with children of gang life. (I did think that the European escape was a bit "over-the-top", but I dismiss devices like this as part of M.C. Beaton's charm.) As usual this plot is a mixture of the familiar (Hamish's troubles with his superiors, the village characters, the desire by Macbeth to keep his beloved friends out of the murder investigation) with unusual devices that make the action complicated and interesting (the Russian who wants the nursery property as a site for his mansion). I loved it. I don't require M.C. Beaton to be believable at all times.....how could you possibly believe Nessie and Jessie with their verbal repetition and outlandish accusations about Hamish's love life? But it works.
Malcolm has a sense of timing..pausing between scenes, changing voices in a subtle manner so the listener always knows when the speaker changes, but effecting the change in an unobtrusive manner....no screeching or phlegmy voices. His voices add a sense of continuity and realism to the Scottish brogue.
I will never forget the hilarity of the kingfisher's funeral.......so funny and outlandish.
Introducing a new character at the end who committed most of the murders and crimes is just not fair in a mystery story! Other than that, I have enjoyed every Hamish Macbeth story.
I read/listened to -- and enjoyed -- many in this series, and, unfortunately, this is the worst I've found. The story is too complex and too unbelievable. Keep it simple, Harmish....
Lovely. I love Graeme Malcolm and I enjoy a new story.
OK The gal is good too but my heart belongs to Graeme...or Hamish.
One, the other, probably both.
I've read or listened to all the Hamish novels. The plot, ranging from Russian mafia to an American fundamentalist is too farfetched. Also, the characters of the two children seem unbelievable.
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 have read or listened to almost all of Beaton's books - Hamish McBeth and Mrs. Raisin. I liked them all but this one was missing something, besides being unbelievable.
Also, while the narrator isn't bad and I wouldn't mind him in another book, his performance in this one was a disappointment. For one thing, he was just too British sounding for a story in the Scottish highlands. But he also just didn't capture Hamish's personality.
I wouldn't listen to another Hamish McBeth book with him. He might be "okay" in other locations.
It wasn't horrible... I did listen to it.. but I wouldn't be inspired to read another Beaton book if I didn't know her other books were better.
I loved listening to the narrators voice. The story had all the essential parts of a Hamish story, but it didn't quite match up to. Earlier Macbeth yarns.
As the other reviewers have already pointed out, while Beaton's characters are their usual eccentric and entertaining selves, the "murder mystery" of this book (the plot), is far fetched and rather strains the power of one's ability to suspend disbelief. While it was, as always, fun to spend time with my favorite Highland police constable, Hamish Macbeth, I feel as though there are better books in the series, ones that do not leave you wondering "wait...WHO did it? Huh?" It was just too implausible.
But, it's not stopping me from turning to the next book in the series, as they're always reliably predictable in their fun characters, fantastic narration (as long as it's Graeme Malcolm) and formulistic style. As long as you don't expect this series to be something it's not, you'll never be disappointed.
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