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Death of a Scriptwriter

Cover of Death of a Scriptwriter

Death of a Scriptwriter

Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series, Book 14
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From the author of the Agatha Raisin television series...

DEATH OF A SCRIPTWRITER: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery HOLLYWOOD IN THE HIGHLANDS
With the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe away in London, Lochdubh Constable Hamish Macbeth pines for company during the long Scottish winter. He gets his wish — and more — when a troupe of flashy, urbane filmmakers clamors into the nearby town of Drim. Before long bedlam erupts around their make-believe mystery ...and culminates in the sudden appearance of one very real corpse.
The initial suspect in the killing is one Patricia Martyn-Broyd, the aging mystery writer furious that her musty old cozies are getting a risque face-lift in their TV reincarnation. Yet, going behind the scenes, Hamish soon finds a town full of locals bitten by the movie bug and a cast of quarreling show business types, all harboring their own secrets, lies, and hidden agendas. And as the culprit strikes again, Hamish must quickly find the right killer — or script the wrong finale to a show gone murderously awry.

From the author of the Agatha Raisin television series...

DEATH OF A SCRIPTWRITER: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery HOLLYWOOD IN THE HIGHLANDS
With the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe away in London, Lochdubh Constable Hamish Macbeth pines for company during the long Scottish winter. He gets his wish — and more — when a troupe of flashy, urbane filmmakers clamors into the nearby town of Drim. Before long bedlam erupts around their make-believe mystery ...and culminates in the sudden appearance of one very real corpse.
The initial suspect in the killing is one Patricia Martyn-Broyd, the aging mystery writer furious that her musty old cozies are getting a risque face-lift in their TV reincarnation. Yet, going behind the scenes, Hamish soon finds a town full of locals bitten by the movie bug and a cast of quarreling show business types, all harboring their own secrets, lies, and hidden agendas. And as the culprit strikes again, Hamish must quickly find the right killer — or script the wrong finale to a show gone murderously awry.

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  • From the book CHAPTER ONE

    Alas, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
    That Youth's sweet-scented Manuscript should close!

    -- Edward Fitzgerald

    Patricia Martyn-Broyd had not written a detective story in years. In her early seventies she had retired to the Highlands of Sutherland on the east side of the village of Cnothan, to a trim, low, whitewashed croft house. She had now been living in the outskirts of Cnothan for five years. She had hoped that the wild isolation of her surroundings would inspire her to write again, but every time she sat down in front of her battered old Remington typewriter, she would feel a great weight of failure settling on her shoulders and the words would not come. For the past fifteen years her books had been out of print. Yet her last detective story, published in 1965, The Case of the Rising Tides, featuring her Scottish aristocrat detective, Lady Harriet Vere, had been a modest success.

    Patricia looked remarkable for her age. She had a head of plentiful snow white hair, a thin, muscular, upright figure and square "hunting shoulders." Her nose was thin and curved like a beak, her pale blue eyes hooded by heavy lids. She was the daughter of a land agent, dead many years now, as was her mother. Patricia had been head girl in her youth at a school more famed for the titles of its pupils than for educational standards. A crush on her English teacher had introduced her to reading detective stories, and then, after an unsuccessful spell on the London scene as a debutante, she had decided to write.

    She had never forgotten the thrill of having her first book published. Her plots were complicated and thoroughly researched. She was fond of plots involving railway timetables, the times of high and low tides and London bus routes. Her main character, Lady Harriet Vere, had grown up, as Patricia herself had grown up, in a world where everyone knew their place in society and what was due to their betters. Light relief was provided by a cast of humorous servants or sinister butlers and gardeners and clod-hopping policemen who were always left openmouthed by the expertise of Lady Harriet.

    But as the world changed, Patricia stayed the same, as did her characters. Sales of her books dwindled. She had a private income from a family trust and did not need to find other work. She had at last persuaded herself that a move to the far north of Scotland would inspire her. Although her character, Lady Harriet, was Scottish, Patricia had never been to Scotland before her move north. There was a stubborn streak in Patricia which would not let her admit to herself that she had made a terrible mistake and added the burden of loneliness to the burden of failure.

    She had recently returned from a holiday in Athens. The weather in Greece had been bright and sunny, and in the evenings, the streets of Athens were well lit and bustling with people. But all too soon it was back to London, to catch the plane to Inverness. The plane had descended through banks of cloud into Heathrow. How dark and dismal everything had seemed. How cold and rainy. How grim and sour the people. Then the flight to Inverness and down into more rain and darkness, and then the long drive home.

    The county of Sutherland is the largest, most underpopulated area in western Europe, with its lochs and mountains and vast expanses of bleak moorland.

About the Author-
  • M. C. Beaton has won international acclaim for her New York Times bestselling Hamish Macbeth mysteries. The BBC has aired 24 episodes based on the series. Beaton is also the author of the bestselling Agatha Raisin series, which will air as an eight-episode dramatic series on Sky1, starring Ashley Jensen. She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband. For more information, you can visit MCBeaton.com.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 1, 1998
    In his 14th bracing appearance, Scottish Highland police constable Hamish Macbeth (Death of a Dentist, 1997, etc.) investigates crimes visited upon those who tinker too much with a mystery series. Anxious to be back in print, elderly mystery writer Patricia Martyn-Broyd signs an options contract that cavalierly gives a television company all rights to her books. Poor Patricia should have read the small print. Her aristocratic heroine and staid story line are soon transformed into a wild 1960s romp, featuring buxom blonde actress Penelope Gates. Patricia is mad enough to murder the scriptwriter, Jamie Gallagher. She isn't alone. Penelope's jealous, often inebriated husband, Josh, is tired of his wife's clothes coming off in every part she plays. Jamie, Josh and Penelope all die in quick succession during location filming in the weird Scottish village of Drim, which is a mere stone's throw from lanky, laconic Hamish's hometown of Lochdubh. A good man cursed with a blustery, jealous superior and poor judgment in affairs of the heart, Hamish has a motley crew of actors and producers for suspects, in addition to the snooty yet vulnerable Patricia. There's a little less of Hamish himself this time out, and his romantic misfires feel cursory, but the environs are brooding and Beaton's affectionate wit remains dry and delightful. Mystery Guild featured alternate; author tour.

  • Atlanta Journal-Constitution "This series is pure bliss."
  • Chicago Sun-Times "Macbeth is the sort of character who slyly grows on you . . . as you realize that beneath his unassuming exterior, he's a whiz at cutting through the hokum."
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Death of a Scriptwriter
Death of a Scriptwriter
Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series, Book 14
M. C. Beaton
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