Today, Elizabeth S. Craig guest blogs for Masters of Mystery. She’s been dying to share one of her favorite detectives with you. Enjoy!
by Elizabeth Spann Craig
Kathy invited me to write about one of my favorite detectives, Hamish Macbeth, for her Masters of Mystery Monday. Hamish is the creation of mystery writer M.C. Beaton.
I think Hamish definitely qualifies as a Master of Mystery, even though he might not be quite as well-known as Inspector Morse or Inspector Jury. And, actually, he isn’t an inspector at all….or will even ever try to become one.
That’s because Hamish is perfectly content with a happy, slow-paced life in the Highland village of Lochdubh, Scotland, where he works as a police constable.
Interesting facts about Hamish:
Most of Hamish’s life involves taking care of his dog, Lugs, his wildcat, Sonsie, and embarking in various disastrous romantic entanglements. He checks up on his villagers, making sure all is well with them. And, more often than he’d like, he has a mysterious death to investigate.
Hamish doesn’t have much ambition, preferring instead to stay in his beloved village. Hamish is portrayed as somewhat lazy, but kind. He has a temper, but rarely shows it. He’s very savvy on managing the villagers and knows how to be their friend as well as their bobby.
Hamish’s intuition, common sense, and relationship with the villagers means that he’s won their trust—and any gossip and information they can provide him. He always finds the killer and restores order to Lochdubh.
Why is Hamish so appealing?
Hamish is real.
The town is populated by a variety of interesting regular characters that make appearances throughout the 27 book series. Nessie and Jessie Currie, eccentric spinster sisters who frequently give helpful information; Angus Macdonald, the seer whom Hamish consults from time to time; and Angela Brodie, who gives advice (and doles out some very bad cooking.) The recurring characters feel like friends, and I look forward to each book in order to catch up with them and see what’s happening in their lives.
I’d been a mystery reader my whole life, but it was M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth that made me pick up my pen (erm…laptop, actually) and try my hand at mystery writing. I was so enthralled by the little world she’d created and the characters that populated it that I couldn’t not try writing. I loved that she’d built a little world full of strong characters, a unique sleuth with foibles, and a fascinating setting. So my hat’s off to Hamish—and Beaton—for the inspiration to write.
More about Hamish (for those who are intrigued):
A listing of all the Hamish books
More on author M.C. Beaton
The Wiki on Hamish
Bio: Elizabeth’s latest book, Finger Lickin’ Dead , was just released June 7th!
Elizabeth is such a nice lady, and a very busy gal. She writes the Memphis Barbeque series for Penguin/Berkley (as Riley Adams), the Southern Quilting mysteries (2012) for Penguin/NAL, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink.
She blogs daily at Mystery Writing is Murder, which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2010 and 2011. I love her site.
Find more info about Elizabeth at:
Writer’s Knowledge Base–the Search Engine for Writers
You can also keep in touch with her via Twitter: @elizabethscraig
28 thoughts on “Masters of Mystery: Hamish Macbeth (guest blog by Elizabeth Craig)”
Thanks so much for hosting me today, Kathy! This is a great place for mystery lovers to hang out. 🙂
Elizabeth, thank YOU for being guest blogger for me today! I had no idea before I read your post that it was this series that inspired you. I definitely have to check it out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, someday, another writer said the same thing about YOUR series? Who knows?
I need to check out that series then!
Kathy – Thanks for hosting Elizabeth!
Elizabeth – Oh, I really like Hamish Macbeth! He is, indeed, real. He’s got wonderful qualities, faults and foibles and Lochdubh’s a great setting for him. And I think it adds an interesting layer of tension that he and his boss are not – erm – on the best of terms. I like this series!
Great post, thanks Elizabeth and thank you Kathy for hosting it! ^^
This is making me want to go and rediscover the old BBC series starring Robert Carlyle, which I think I was a bit young for at the time!
Thanks for hosting Elizabeth, Kathy – and this looks like a great place to hang out! I will do so.
Those books sound wonderful – I wish I had one now – it is raining and cold and I’d like to go back to bed with a Scottish village mystery. Och aye!
I haven’t read these books, but I’m going to add one to my wish list. Thanks!
Alex–Hope you will!
Margot–That’s fun, isn’t it? I love the ongoing tension he faces with his superiors and the way he struggles to keep from getting promoted. 🙂
Manon–Thanks so much for coming by!
Juliette–I saw it in reruns on BBC America a few (more than a few?) years ago. Great adaptation and beautiful scenery. 🙂
Thanks for the introduction to a fascinating sleuth. I had not heard of these books, but Hamish sounds like a great character. It’s always nice to remember the writers and characters that inspired us to write. I have a great affinity for the officers at the 87th Precinct created by Ed McBain (Evan Hunter)
I love that Hamish made you pick up your pen Elizabeth, that’s excellent! It’s fantastic when a character can touch us that deeply.
Kathy, great choice asking Elizabeth to guest post! I’ve never heard of the Hamish MacBeth series….I wish my TBR pile hadn’t already tipped over all over the floor in my office or I’d add to it now. 🙂
You know I haven’t read the Hamish MacBeths, but I love love love Agatha Raisin, and for the exact same reasons! She is lovably flawed, and she has a cast of endearing (and also lovably flawed) friends.
M.C. Beaton is a great inspiration… she and Louise Penny definitely inspire me!
Agatha Raisin is another series I’ve been wanting to read! Now I HAVE to check her out, too. Thanks, Megan!
I agree that Hamish is a very real and very cosy detective. I think – or hope – there is a bit of Hamish in my own Archibald Penrose. Or what I mean is that Archie would be like Hamish if he did not have Rhapsody to spur him on 😉
Maryann–That’s another excellent series! Haven’t read it for years…thanks for the reminder to rediscover Ed McBain.
Heathe–It really is. I’ll always have a special place for Hamish in my heart. 🙂
Tiffany–Your pile is sounding like mine! At least now mine are being stored on the Kindle…my piles were getting dangerous!
Megan–Oh, I love Louise’s mysteries! And, if you like Agatha, then I know you would enjoy Hamish. 🙂
Dorte–I’m sure ALL men would want to be like Hamish…and probably *would* be if we weren’t there to stop them. 🙂
I decided to pick up a few Hamish MacBeth’s from the library today… I can’t wait to read them. I don’t know why I never tried them before, really.
Isn’t it amazing when a character can influence us positively in our real life? That’s something every writer would want to achieve for even just one reader, I think!
Elizabeth, you are a Rock Star! Thanks so much for guest blogging today! Hope your book sales go off the charts :))
Great post! I’ve never actually read any Hamish stories, but my mom adores them! I’ll have to check them out one of these days…
It makes the story so much stronger when the MC is such a real person. He sounds very intriguing!
Kathy–You are too nice! Wish I *could* be a rock star some days…wouldn’t that be cool?
Jemi–Hamish is a cool guy. I think he does appeal to moms a lot because he’s this sort of wayward boy. I think, as you mentioned, the realness of him…his foibles…really make him come to life.
Hamish sounds perfect. I like the more relaxed feel of the character, what all good investigators should have in common. Its a refreshing step away from the hard boiled or hard case detective.
Thanks for a great post!
Gene–It’s honestly like taking a very inexpensive vacation with friends. Hope you’ll check out the series!
Enjoyed the post, Elizabeth, thanks! Am I dreaming, or was Hamish MacBeth also a mini series on television? I really enjoyed that, so I’m sure I’ll love the books!
The Chick Dick Blog
Hi Nancy! You’re not dreaming at all! He had a show on British TV for three seasons and it played here in the States on either BBC America or A&E (can’t remember which)… Hope you’ll enjoy them!
I enjoyed your post.
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