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Death of an Addict


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About the Author

M. C. Beaton has won international acclaim for her New York Times bestselling Hamish Macbeth mysteries. The BBC has aired 24 episodes based on the series. Beaton is also the author of the bestselling Agatha Raisin series, which will air as an eight-episode dramatic series on Sky1, starring Ashley Jensen. She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband. For more information, you can visit MCBeaton.com.


Series constable Hamish Macbeth (Death of a Scriptwriter, LJ 4/1/98) investigates a drug-related murder by infiltrating the local heroin trade. He receives help from a glacial Glasgow woman detective, which creates comic tension. For all collections. [Mystery Guild featured alternate.] Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Some things never change: the idyllic Scottish village of Lochdubh remains a serene haven around which all manner of rural skullduggery continues to threaten the laconic existence of the local copper, the tall, tousle-haired, chronically unambitious and hopelessly love-crossed Hamish Macbeth (Death of a Scriptwriter, etc.). Recovering drug addict Tommy Jarret rents a place near Lochdubh to write his autobiography. He seems to be on the mend, but then he dies of an overdose. Hamish suspects foul play. The bane of his life, his superiors in the big city, declare the case closed, however, so he must move on to other matters, such as the sighting of a monster in a local loch. But when Jarret's pals provide the police with a link to big-time drug dealers, Hamish finds himself in Amsterdam, wearing sharp suits, talking like a hoodlum and posing as a player, all in the company of a very pretty superior officer who just might change his mind about superior officers. Unfortunately, Hamish all but blows his chances with her by sleeping with a hooker. While the Macbeth tales are always a droll treat, this 15th in the series is less tightly plotted than most, with the mystery surrounding the addict's death sidetracked for a long spell as the Amsterdam adventure gives fans an agreeably tougher side of P.C. Macbeth to contemplate. Mystery Guild featured alternate. (May) FYI: In addition to the Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin (see below) series, the pseudonymous Beaton writes Regency romances under her real name of Marion Chesney.

YA-There are strange goings-on in a village in Scotland. A sea monster resembling Nessie of Loch Ness fame has been sighted. Then Constable Hamish Macbeth has his monster investigation cut short when Tommy Jarret, an addict trying valiantly to remain clean of drugs, is found dead of an overdose. His death leads to an undercover assignment for Macbeth, who poses as a drug lord. With the assistance of Detective Inspector Olivia Chater, he eventually solves the murder, apprehends the true drug lord, and resolves the Nessie look-alike dilemma. Beaton offers a taste of Scotland's highlands and its population of independent individuals and some eccentric natives. While the author softens the brutality of illegal drugs, enough of the roughness comes across to make the plot ring true to life. Beaton catches the beauty of the area's natural geography and succinctly describes its distinct flavor. Many of the characters will be familiar from other titles of this series, but even first-time readers will enjoy the quirks and unique qualities of the cast. The plot seems to jump from point to point at times, but offers compensations for its few hard-to-follow spots with gentle humor and a few comedic episodes. Despite a touch of sadness and an acceptance of life's bleak realities, the overall mood of the story, upbeat and pleasant, comes through at the end.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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