Book Review: Death of a Bore (2006)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the Hamish Macbeth murder mystery written by M. C. Beaton.

Synopsis: The villagers of Lochdubh love their television sets. So, when writer John Heppel moves into the area and offers a writing class, Constable Hamish Macbeth is surprised when it draws a large crowd. However, there's just one problem. Heppel seems more interested in talking about himself than actually teaching anything and, when he finally does "help" the villagers, he is very rude.
As a result, when Heppel is found murdered, the villagers of Lochdubh are the primary suspects and it is up to Hamish to prove otherwise.


I ended up taking a short hiatus from Hamish Macbeth because I was waiting for our library to get Death of a Poison Pen back so I could check it out. However, as of the last time I was there, the book still hadn't been returned so I decided to just skip ahead to this one instead.

Fortunately, other than Hamish no longer in a relationship with Elspeth Grant, skipping a book didn't leave me thoroughly confused. And, overall, I thought this was a good mystery.

Death of a Bore
Death of a Bore

The thing that really stood out for me when it came to this book was the victim was just enough of an ass to create a seemingly endless list of potential suspects, whether it was an insulted villager, a jilted ex-lover or a television executive he rubbed the wrong way. The many potential motives did make it a little harder to figure out who the killer was.

I also found I liked the various twists and turns Hamish wound up taking during the course of the investigation. This included avoiding a new supervisor who was a heavy drinker and who seemed to have a romantic interest in him and putting himself in a potential bind by hiding evidence and covering up a theft. The latter meant he had to solve the case quickly to avoid being caught red handed.

I also thought the part about him, while feeling at his lowest, saving a wildcat and accidentally getting a new pet in the process, while a little unusual, was kind of cool. It'll be interesting to see how his new furry companion works out in later books.

One complaint I do have about this book is it never does reveal who painted the racist graffiti on Patel's store. Yes, Hamish accused Heppel of doing it and was probably right. But, since the deceased never confessed and there was no evidence that actually proved he was the guy who did it, I kind of feel like that case is still technically unsolved. But, maybe there's more to it and it'll come into play in a later book. So, I guess I'll just wait and see.

Also, while the murderer is eventually caught, I was disappointed a couple lesser criminals, a wife beater and a thief, wound up walking away without suffering any real consequences. Hopefully that will be rectified in a later book as well.

Death of a Bore (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries, No. 21)

From the author of the Agatha Raisin television series...DEATH OF A BORE: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery Minor writer John Heppel has a problem--he's a consummate bore. When he's foun...

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Final Opinion

I thought this was an entertaining mystery that left me wanting to read more. I would recommend taking the time to read it if you get a chance.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 10/03/2019, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 02/05/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
Me too, I noticed that some questions remained unanswered, specifically about the Patel store in Loch Dubh. Perhaps, if deliberate, it serves to remind us that we may not get all the answers that we seek in life.

Would you happen to have read the puzzle lady series by Parnell Hall? You would notice that about him, that he too sometimes leaves something unanswered.

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