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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


Books by Debra Hamel:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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Beaton, M.C.: Death of a Gentle Lady

  Amazon  

3.5 stars

M.C. Beaton has written more than twenty Hamish Macbeth mysteries, the first published in 1985, and the books inspired a series that aired on the BBC. I haven't seen the program, and Beaton's latest installment, Death of a Gentle Lady, is the first in the series that I've read. Hamish Macbeth is a constable in the village of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands. He lives in the police station with a dog and a near-feral cat. He's unmarried but pines intermittently throughout this book, at least, for two women with whom he apparently has long histories. He is clever enough that he might have moved up and out of Lochdubh based on his  job performance, but he aspires only to remain in his beloved village, and he is forever battling to keep its small police station in operation.

In this outing Macbeth becomes acquainted with a certain Mrs. Margaret Gentle, an elderly widow who has recently bought a mock, cliffside castle in Macbeth's jurisdiction. She puts on a sweet-old-lady act that's won the rest of the villagers over, but Macbeth sees through it at once to recognize the bitty within. A double homicide later and Macbeth finds that he's the killer's next target, and the most likely suspect is among the Gentle woman's heirs. Meanwhile, the good folks of Lochdubh are staging an amateur production of Shakespeare's Macbeth; Hamish Macbeth's nemesis on the police force is harboring a grudge; and a Putin-esque Russian policewoman, visiting from Moscow, is hovering around the Gentle investigation--and giving Macbeth the willies.

Death of a Gentle Lady is a readable cozy with a likable sleuth, firmly bound with its Highland setting. The plot is interesting, though its twist occurred to me long before Macbeth caught on. The details of the crime are revealed in a stock let-me-tell-you-how-I-did-it-before-I-kill-you-type information dump, which is perhaps a bit sloppy. But I enjoyed the book and will likely be reading more in the series.

Comments

1.

Oooh, that kind of info-dump and the clueless detective thing usually drive me mad. But an interesting enough bunch of characters can make up for it.

2.

I was very disappointed to receive the DVD of Hamish McBeth and to find the actor, tho' a very fine actor, was in no way as described in the books. He was not tall, his hair was not red, etc.
However I do enjoy listening to these books on tape, also the Agatha Raisin character.
M. Vidak

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