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.
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.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Five stars all around. Shawn Grindell does an excellent narration, and of course, we live Hamish and all the other characters.
M. C. Beaton always writes a good story so I've never been disappointed especially whenever Davina Porter or Graeme Malcom have narrated the Hamish Macbeth series. So I didn't think that Shaun Grindell could do as horribly as he did when he narrated this story but unfortunately he did just that. The Scottish accents were completely off. They sounded forced, which made the Scottish characters sound childish at best. I'll be sure to avoid anything that he narrates in the future.
Not often disappointed but the narration simply does not work. Shaun Grindell has a fine voice, but not for this novel of the Scottish Highlands.
Any additional comments?
I really like this series - the stories are easy to listen to - the setting and the supporting characters that carry over from story to story. Hamish Macbeth is great to listen to while doing busy work or driving. Some I have listened to many times over - kind of like a Midsommer Murder episode brought to life. This story, however, was really tiresome. Little character development, not much description of the setting and it was not believable. It seemed very repetitive. Yes, she has pink hair...please don't tell me again! I think the narrator is very good, but not a good match for this series. Graeme Malcom is a better fit for this series. I am glad this was not the first book I listened to. .
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.
Is there anything you would change about this book?
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.
How could the performance have been better?
Davina Porter or Penelope Keith would be better narrators.
Any additional comments?
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.
What did you love best about Death of a Prankster?
All M.C Beaton books worth the read / listen. Hamish is a good small town cop that just knows life.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful