A classic title from M.C. Beaton's New York Times best-selling Hamish Macbeth series about the death of a practical joker.
Admittedly, there's a touch of black humor in the case. Rich, old practical joker Andrew Trent summons his kin to the remote Arrat House in the dead of winter for a deathbed farewell. They arrive to find him in perfect health and eager to torment them with a new bag of unfunny jokes.
But this time the body that falls out of the closet is Andrew Trent's own. And nobody's laughing. Especially not Constable Hamish Macbeth, who is hard put to glean any information from Trent's unappealing nearest and dearest. And when the lanky constable's former flame Priscilla Halburton-Smythe inserts herbeautiful self into the case, Hamish must muster all his native guile to carry him through. Fortunately, he has a few clever tricks up his own sleeve which enable this most endearing of crime fighters to get the best - and last - laugh.
©2013 Blackstone Audio; 2012 M.C. Beaton
The story is intriguing as always with the Mcbeth mysteries. This was not one of my favorites, mainly because I hate practical jokes or pranks. Fortunately the prankster is bumped off early on, so one only has to put up with his relatives, who are mostly shallow and selfish.
The subplot with Priscilla continues. It's hard to keep up with their relationship as it evolves from book to book, but it is always interesting. She likes to keep him dangling but he is growing wiser these days.
I recommend this book and this series if you like to hear about the people and places in remote northern Scotland and don't demand too much plausibility in your murder plots. The situations are too outlandish to be taken seriously, which makes these good books if you want to be entertained but not stressed out. The narrator does a good job of reading and has a voice that is very easy to listen to.
I've listened. with pleasure, to many Hamish Macbeth books, but this was the first read by Shaun Grindell and it was most disappointing. His reading was often difficult to understand particularly his accents. Not an easy listen. I recommend that readers look for the Hamish Macbeth books read by Graeme Malcolm, who does a superb job.
Absolutly love to listen to the great classic English detectives.
Was this Macbeth mystery even written by the same writer as the others. It's almost as if the writer was unfamiliar with the relationship of the main stay characters to one another. Without Graham Malcom narrating it just was not the same. Also, the way Hamish solves the murder and interacts with Pricilla was totally wrong. Skip this installment.
Get a better narrator. This one put me to sleep and makes an otherwise okay book sound very boring. His intonation is the same for almost every sentence, making it sound monotonous. A more vibrant style of narration and character voices would bring it to life.
Davina Porter or Penelope Keith would be better narrators.
After listening to all of the Agatha Raisin series, I have a hard time with Hamish MacBeth and the plodding pace. Partly, as mentioned above, it's due to this narrator, but partly it's the style of this series. I will try another one with Davina Porter as narrator and see how I like it.
All M.C Beaton books worth the read / listen. Hamish is a good small town cop that just knows life.
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