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Hamish Macbeth Books In Order

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Publication Order of Hamish Macbeth Books

By: M.C. Beaton, R.W. Green
Death of a Gossip (1985)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Cad (1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of an Outsider (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Perfect Wife (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Hussy (1990)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Snob (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Prankster (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Glutton / Death of a Greedy Woman (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Travelling Man (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Charming Man (1994)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Nag (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Macho Man (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Dentist (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Scriptwriter (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of an Addict (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Highland Christmas (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Dustman (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Celebrity (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Village (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Poison Pen (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Bore (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Dreamer (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Maid (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Gentle Lady (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Witch (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Valentine (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Chimney Sweep / Death of a Sweep (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Kingfisher (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of Yesterday (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Policeman (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Liar (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Knock, Knock, You're Dead! (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Nurse (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Ghost (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of an Honest Man (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Green-Eyed Monster / Death of a Love (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Laird (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Traitor (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death of a Spy (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Hamish Macbeth Short Stories/Novellas

By: M.C. Beaton, R.W. Green

About Hamish Macbeth:

Lately, our television channels have been swamped with modern police shows, all with the same basic protagonist. Generally speaking, we have a leading lad or lady who is too big for their job, believes themselves smarter than the office above them, and who tends to ignore direct commands in favor of a seemingly more morally-sound or logical quest.

Hamish Macbeth could have been the beginning to all of these outspoken characters. Macbeth was created by M. C. Beaton (more commonly known as Marion Chesney) in a mystery novel published in 1985, the first of many in a series. Macbeth resides in the small, fictional village known as Lochdubh in northern Scotland.

“I was at a fishing school in Sutherland in the very north of Scotland,” Chesney explained in an interview. “And I thought, what a wonderful setting for a classical detective story, 11 people isolated in this Highland wilderness. So Hamish Macbeth was born.”

Though the television series that was later created didn’t necessarily paint Macbeth in the same light as Chesney, it helped to get the name recognition that was needed to sell the books. It also may have had something to do with the amount of detectives who, in today’s modern age, don’t follow the rules.

Hamish is the oldest of seven, and lives in a farming family. As an adult, he resides in the local police station and works as a “bobby” (constable), often going out of his way to avoid being promoted. Macbeth also has a natural inquisitive nature that feeds the flame in his career.

Macbeth himself is a far from perfect character who strives to accomplish very little in his life. He is lazy, self-centered, and determined in every aspect to be right when it comes to a mystery. He will go to great lengths to prove this fact, sometimes using outside information and unorthodox methods to solve a case. Still, these qualities are what makes Hamish Macbeth relatable to readers, and may have a strong connection to the popularity of the series itself.

What are the Macbeth books all about?

In the Hamish Macbeth debut novel, Death of a Gossip (all of the Macbeth novels being with “Death of a” and end with some kind of career or adjective), eight people meet in Lochdubh. They all go to the same temporary school, all mainly trying to get away from their hectic lives and enjoy a small amount of vacation time. Lady Jane Withers, one of the members of the clan, is a notorious gossip. When she learns that each guest has a secret to hide, she is elated.

Soon after this revelation, Lady Jane is found murdered. No one in the party is exactly upset about this development, but Hamish Macbeth (the local policeman) feels obligated to find the murderer. At this point, the book mirrors an English murder-mystery. In essence, a small group of people are trapped and each of them is a suspect in a murder case, much like the famous movie Clue. At this point, it is left up to Macbeth to determine who the culprit is and how to bring him/her to justice. In this book, Macbeth is assisted by his love interest Priscilla Smythe and, together, they bring the killer to light.

The sequel to this novel, Death of a Cad, was published in 1987. Set in the same town of Lochdubh, the plot is introduced when Captain Bartlett dies under mysterious circumstances at an engagement party thrown for Priscilla Smythe, though the police label the incident as an accident. To Macbeth’s frustrations, he is the only one convinced that the death was a murder and is left to solve the mystery on his own.

Hamish succeeds in his efforts, using his knowledge of the locals and his blatant disregard for anyone who is supposed to hold a higher position than himself to assist him.

Who does Hamish associate with?

Hamish’s happiness and constant frustrations revolve around two major characters: Priscilla Smythe and Chief Inspector Blair.

Priscilla is the “love of Macbeth’s life”, though she gets engaged in the second novel to a playwright who has become famous. Ultimately, the relationship seems to go nowhere even though Priscilla never quite leaves the spotlight, remaining Macbeth’s right-hand on many cases. Later, Macbeth has a short affair with reporter Elspeth Grant. But that, too, ends badly.

The source of Macbeth’s constant anger and authority-allusion is Chief Inspector Blair, his enemy and the antagonist of the series. One of Blair’s main goals is to see Lochdubh’s police station (not to mention Hamish’s career) shut down immediately. He is jealous of Macbeth’s quick wit, but holds an ultimately higher position than the “bobby” himself.

Who is Marion Chesney?

Marion Gibbons was born in 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland. Most of her earlier works were written under her maiden name Chesney. She also typed under a pen-name “M.C Beaton”, the official author given credit for the Hamish Macbeth series.

Marion has also used pseudonyms such as Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Sarah Chester, and Charlotte Ward over the years. She tends to write about historical towns and settings, and uses characters with names such as Captain Harry Cathcart and the Lady Rose Summer. As herself, Marion is currently working on an Edwardian mystery series. Her most famous works, however, remain the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mystery series.

Where is Hamish Macbeth today?

Hamish Macbeth first aired on television in 1995 on a comedy-drama series formed by BBC Scotland. Marion Chesney claims that the only things that remained the same between the television series and the book series were the names of Hamish Macbeth and the small town, Lochdubh. The concept of a small town policeman butting heads with higher officials was also laced into the plotline, as it was a popular theme for BBC mystery shows (such as Inspector Barnaby in Midsomer Murders and the famous Inspector Lynley in the Lynley series).

Though the Hamish Macbeth television series only ran for three seasons, the books are still out there to read. With a total of 29 installments (the latest one released in 2013), Marion Chesney has given readers plenty of Hamish Macbeth to go around, and many, many adventures to enjoy.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Hamish Macbeth

5 Responses to “Hamish Macbeth”

  1. Ruth e Marwitz: 3 months ago

    I suggest Donna Leon – her policeman is with the Venice, Italy police Dept. He has a family which features regularly, as well as a somewhat shifty but brilliant secreatry, and the usual incompetent inspector who gives him grief.

    And Louise Penny Her stories take place in a fictitious village near Montreal, Canada. Agai, a detective, his family, and a host of villagers to help him solve crimes.

  2. Jennifer: 2 years ago

    Hello, I’d recommend these:
    Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs Series
    Lillian Jackson Braun’s The Cat Who… Series
    Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce novels
    Happy reading.

  3. anne oultram: 2 years ago

    i have read all hamish macbeth books except knock knock what other books would you recommend that are a bit similar thank you

    • Diane: 2 years ago

      The closest I’ve found is the Constable Evan Evans series by Rhys Bowen. The setting is Wales with a likeable lead character and quirky village inhabitants.

      • Linda: 1 year ago

        I would second the Constable Evan Evans series. He had been in an urban setting before leaving and moving to a small village in northern Wales. There are plenty of quirky characters in the village who are a little suspicious of him, but he is likeable and helpful and starts to win them over.


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