This month’s Other Genre or Format* pick is Death of a Maid: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery by M. C. Beaton.
In answer to the question “What are you reading now?” the chances that I would answer “a cosy mystery” are extremely low. That said, I do believe the genre is unfairly reviled by those who view it as the sole purview of elderly women with too many cats and a passion for yarn craft.
A basic definition of the “cosy mystery” is a mystery story that takes place within a closed environment (a house, a train, a small village, etc), features little or no graphic content (sex or violence), and is tidily resolved in the end. The works of Agatha Christie epitomize the genre.
M. C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series follows the crime-solving exploits of the titular hero, a policeman in a small village in the highlands of Scotland. It features a strong cast of characters and many charms, including the lead character’s unfortunate last name, his strange pets, and the Scottish highland scenery.
In Death of a Maid, Hamish must solve the murder of a cleaning woman who may have also been a blackmailer.
Beaton’s writing is unpretentious and flows seamlessly. The story has a solid three-part structure (beginning, middle, end) but is not boring or predictable. Definitely recommended to fans of the mystery genres, or anyone in search of a relaxing and entertaining read.
Why I chose this book: I listened to the audio version of this book, and to be honest I chose it simply because it was available and I wanted something undemanding to listen to during my commute home from work. I did not regret my choice.
* To expand my reading horizons, I try to read one book each month from a genre or format I don’t usually read.