The Death of a Kingfisher by M.C. Beaton
The Death of a Kingfisher is a novel that tells one of M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth stories. Another is reviewed on this site at The story starts at a time when Scotland is hit by recession (a bit like now!). Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are being forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie does not have much to offer except that it has a place of rare beauty called Buchan’s Wood. A local tourist director renames this “The Fairy Glen” and has brochures printed with a beautiful photograph of a kingfisher rising from a pond on the cover. It is not long before coach tours begin to arrive laidened with tourists. But just as the town’s luck starts to turn, a kingfisher is found hanging from a branch in the woods, by a noose. A wave of vandalism threatens to ruin Braikie forever so the town turns to Hamish Macbeth. However, violence strikes again and the policeman’s investigation turns to murder.
Although, as a rule, I enjoy this murder, mystery series, from the first page to the middle of the story, this is not the Hamish Macbeth mystery I have come to love. The writing style is not as smooth I am familiar with in M. C. Beaton’s the other books. As I got into the book it did get a bit better and the story kept my interest to the end I did think the plot line was a bit weak and far-fetched.
However, there were lovely descriptions of scenery and some of the villagers of Lochdubh I have come to know. Elspeth and Priscilla both make an appearance too.
Marion Chesney herself is probably even more interesting than this book! She was born in Scotland, although she lived for a while in the USA. She is known primarily for the more than 100 historical romance novels she has published under her own name and under several pseudonyms: Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward. However, The Death of a Kingfisher she wrote as M.C. Beaton which is the pseudonym she reserves for her crime fiction and mystery novels.