Summary and book reviews of Death of a Dreamer by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Dreamer

by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Dreamer by M.C. Beaton X
Death of a Dreamer by M.C. Beaton
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  • First Published:
    Feb 2006, 256 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 288 pages

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Book Summary

Newcomers usually don't stay long in remove Lockdubh, Scotland, but artist Effie Garrard settles in and apart from being a dreamer and a little odd, seems to be fine. Then she's found dead, an apparent suicide, but police constable Hamish Macbeth feels in his bones it is murder - but is he too distracted by his own personal affairs to see the evil that's getting too close to him?

Most newcomers don't stay long in remote Lochdubh. They arrive filled with romantic notions of life in northern Scotland until boredom, dampness, and nosy villagers send them running back to civilization. Hamish Macbeth is surprised when artist Effie Garrard sticks it out through the winter, especially since her cottage is so far up in the hills that it might take weeks before anyone would know if something happened to her.

By spring Macbeth fears something has. He takes his Land Rover out to check on her, and for once his uncanny sixth sense is wrong! Effie is fine - if being a dreamer and a little odd don't count. That problem off his mind, Macbeth's attention turns closer to home. His old flame Priscilla Halburton-Smythe has returned to Lochdubh for a long visit, not that Macbeth still cares. And a landscape painter, up from Glasgow, is charming all the ladies in the area, including the elderly twins Nessie and Jessie Currie. Macbeth's famous intuition tells him trouble is in the air. And this time Macbeth is spot-on.

Effie Garrard is found dead, an apparent suicide. Although his superiors close the case, Macbeth feels in his bones it is murder. Worse, things begin going haywire in his own life. Another of his old girlfriends turns up in Lochdubh, his heart is being tugged toward an unwise passion, and he may be dreaming too much himself. Distracted by his personal affairs, Macbeth may not see an evil that's getting too close to him…or a ruthless killer whose violence will give everyone nightmares.

Chapter One

So, if I dream I have you, I have you,

For, all our joys are but fantastical.

—John Donne

It had been a particularly savage winter in the county of Sutherland at the very north of Scotland. Great blizzards had roared in off the Atlantic, burying roads and cottages in deep snowdrifts. Patel's, the local grocery shop in the village of Lochdubh, sold out of nearly everything, and at one point it was necessary for rescue helicopters to drop supplies to the beleaguered inhabitants.

And then, at the end of March, the last of the storms roared away, to be followed by balmy breezes and blue skies. The air was full of the sound of rasping saws and the thump of hammers as the inhabitants of Lochdubh, as if they had awakened from a long sleep, got to work repairing storm damage.

The police station was comparatively sheltered below ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

The prolific M.C. Beaton's 22nd novel in the Hamish Macbeth series is one part cozy, one part police procedural and one part psychological thriller - and really rather good!..continued

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Kirkus Reviews
Can [Hamish] solve the crime without winning the promotion that will ruin his quiet life? The faithful won't mind that Hamish's amours this time take second place to his detecting skills.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Beaton's flawless 21st installment in her popular Hamish Macbeth series (after 2005's Death of a Bore) boasts amusing local color and singularly savvy sleuthing.

Booklist - Connie Fletcher
Starred Review. A Brigadoon-like setting in northern Scotland that quickly turns Hitchcockian. Beaton is a masterful mixer of disparate elements that result in crime novels that are part police procedural and part psychological thriller... A treat.

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Beyond the Book

M.C. Beaton is a pseudonym of Marion Chesney, an extremely prolific author of Regency romances, who also writes the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mystery series under the name M. C. Beaton. A former journalist, she now writes full time, under her own name and a variety of pseudonyms including Sarah Chester, Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Marion Gibbons, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward.  She was born in Scotland but now divides her time between the English Cotswolds and Paris. 

At a rough count, since 1979 she has published more than 100 titles as Marion Chesney and more than 40 as M.C. Beaton - that's about five a year!  140 titles is impressive if quantity matters to you, but no where near the output...

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