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The Wife and I are big on British mysteries on TV and have been working our way through the whole Midsomer Murders series via Netflix. So when the Recommendations feature popped up the intriguing sounding Hamish MacBeth -- starring Robert Carlyle, who has a great star turn as a psychotic soccer fan in the original Cracker -- it seemed worth a try. (Of particular note is that several episodes are directed and/or written by Danny Boyle, with whom Carlyle later made Trainspotting.)

The series turns out to be a delightfully idiosyncratic concoction, sort of reminiscent of Local Hero, but with Carlyle playing a Scottish police constable who disguises his own ability from his superiors in order to avoid promotion and get to stay in the quirky seaside town of Lochdubh. There he watches over the oft-times larcenous doings of the inhabitants and tries to keep them out of trouble, protecting them from both the law and genuine evil-doers. Carlyle gives us a MacBeth of appealing emotional fragility -- especially where his dog, Wee Jock, and the not-always-requited love of his life, Alexandra MacLean, are concerned. It's very amusing, though the last two episodes of Season One took a darker turn and left us with an emotion-wrenching cliff-hanger.

The books, at least the first two (I found a British edition that contained both), feature a tougher and more devious MacBeth -- who poaches and conducts other schemes in order to send money home to his large family -- making them enjoyable in a different way. His sidekick, TV John, is also missing and rather than Alex he loves a Priscilla Halburton-Smythe.

Books or series, you won't be sorry either way.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A)

  

Websites:

See also:

M. C. Beaton (2 books reviewed)
Mystery
M. C. Beaton Links:

    -ESSAY: Why I Chose The Edwardian Era (Marion Chesney (aka M. C. Beaton), St. Martin's Minotaur)
    -Marion Chesney (Wikipedia)
    -Hamish Macbeth (Wikipedia)
    -Author of the Month: M.C. Beaton [July 2003] (MyShelf.com)
    -M.C. Beaton (pseudonym of Marion Chesney) (Notes in the Margin)
    -M.C. Beaton 1936-
    -SHOW SITE: Hamish MacBeth (BBC America)
    -The Hamish Macbeth Book Page!
    -EPISODE GUIDE: Hamish Macbeth (a Titles and Air Dates Guide) (George Fergus)
    -Hamish MacBeth, Gossip from Lochdubh
    -The Real Lochdubh (BBC America)
    -Plockton Web: Hamish Macbeth
    -Memorable Television The TV Shows (1990's) Hamish Macbeth
    -Ann Mackenzie's Hamish Macbeth page
    -ESSAY: A Wonderful Place for A Murder (MARILYN STASIO, January 12, 1997, NY Times Book Review)
    -ARCHIVES: "m. c. beaton" (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW: of Death of a Perfect Wife by M.C. Beaton (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Death of a Perfect Wife (JP, Mystery Reader)
    -REVIEW: of Death of a Hussy by M. C. Beaton (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Death of a Charming Man by M. C. Beaton (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Death of a Scriptwriter (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Death of an Addict by M.C. Beaton (Kay Black, Mystery Reader)
    -REVIEW: of Death of an Addict (Bill Peschel)
    -REVIEW: of Death Of A Village by M. C. Beaton (Luke Croll, Book Ideas)
    -REVIEW: of Death of a Dustman by M. C. Beaton (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham by M. C. Beaton (Kay Black, Mystery Reader)
    -REVIEW: of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton (Mary Andrea Clarke, Shots Mag)
    -REVIEW: of Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M. C. Beaton (Celebrity Cafe)

Book-related and General Links:
HAMISH MACBETH BOOKS:

Death of a Gossip (1985)

Death of a Cad (1987)

Death of an Outsider (1988)

Death of a Perfect Wife (1989)

Death of a Hussy (1990)

Death of a Snob (1991)

Death of a Prankster (1992)

Death of a Glutton (1993)

Death of a Travelling Man (1993)

Death of a Charming Man (1994)

Death of a Nag (1995)

Death of a Macho Man (1996)

Death of a Dentist (1997)

Death of a Scriptwriter (1998)

Death of an Addict (1999)

A Highland Christmas (1999)

Death of a Dustman (2001)

Death of a Celebrity (2002)

Death of a Village (2003)

Death of a Poison Pen (2004)

Death of a Bore (2005)

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