Today’s book review, of a crime novel, is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey.
Death of a Cad by M C Beaton
Death of a Cad is a mystery novel by M. C. Beaton (Marion Chesney), first published in 1987. It is the second novel in this series, set in the fictional village of Lochdubh, Northern Scotland, featuring the local constable Hamish Macbeth.
Synopsis: When Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings her London playwright fiancé home to Lochdubh, everybody in town is delighted . . . except for love-smitten Constable Hamish Macbeth. Yet his affairs of the heart will have to wait. Vile, boorish Captain Bartlett, one of the guests at Priscilla’s engagement party, has just been found murdered-shot while on a grouse hunt. Now with many titled party guests as the prime suspects, each with a reason for snuffing out the despicable captain, Hamish must smooth ruffled feathers as he investigates the case. When the hidden culprit strikes again, Hamish will find himself trying to save Priscilla from a miserable marriage-and catch a killer before he flies the coop.
This novel is available via http://www.amazon.com/Death-Cad-M-C-Beaton-ebook/dp/B006O1ZLV2 and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Death-Cad-M-C-Beaton-ebook/dp/B006O1ZLV2.
I listened to the audiobook while driving to / from Get Writing 2014.
From the off, it felt like a 1920s/1930s Agatha Christie until the mention of the Godfather film placed it in the early 1970s. This then made the old-fashioned values too seem out of place. The beginning was enjoyable – we have a body soon enough – having learned how much of a cad the man was – but then it slowed too much for my liking. I listened to the audio version and while the narration was generally excellent, the Scottish accents were (sorry, Davina Porter but it sounded like a mixture between Indian, Welsh and Jamaican) was appalling – I’m English but have a Scottish (Glaswegian) housemate – especially Hamish Macbeth’s voice, the main character. It spoiled the rest of the book for me and I was glad (after five CDs) when it ended.
The writing was cluttered with adverbs and I missed a key aspect that would have made me go “oh, of course” when Hamish reveals the murderer. This is the disadvantage of an audiobook, I guess – that it’s easier to miss key clues when concentrating on driving. M C Beaton is incredibly popular so it probably would have been a much more enjoyable experience if I’d read the book, but I didn’t and perhaps another clue or two would made the difference. I’ll try her books again and let you know what I think about the next one.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, Chair of NWG (which runs the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition), Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page). She also recently created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has six others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post a spotlight or interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups.