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Welcome to Monday Murder Mystery where we gather each week to talk about mysteries.  Discussion of all mysteries is welcome, not just those involving murder; and all genres of mysteries are welcome, be they the coziest of the cozy style or the most cold blooded of the police procedurals.  

Diarists are invited to share any book, series, author or mystery genre.  If you would like to contribute, please include your subject and date in the comments, or send a private message to Susan from 29.

Because it is hard to discuss a mystery without revealing the ending, please use the comment section for that discussion, with the word "Spoiler" prominent in the topic line.  Those who don't want to know the ending can set their Comment Preference to SHRINK and individually expand those comments without the warning.

My grandparents were from Scotland.  He was born in Glasgow, spent some years in Australia where his father died, of “fatigue.”  His mother took the boys back to Glasgow where she married a boarder in her house and immigrated to the States.  My grandfather did not get along with his stepfather and at 13 ran away to join the Merchant Marine, returning again to Scotland and joining the Black Watch at the start of the Great War.

She was an Edinburgh lass who learned the Gaelic in school, as well as knitting, cooking and sewing.  Her family had been lead miners in Wanlockhead before moving to the Linlithgow area and mining shale.  As an NCO in the British Army during WWI, my grandmother was in charge of feeding the young recruits at Fort George in Scotland.  My grandparents married at the end of the war and with a new son (my uncle), and her sisters and brother, moved to the States and settled in Chicago.  They all lived within blocks of each other.  

Blue collar workers, they always gathered for holidays at my grandmother’s dinner table.  Often for Sunday dinner as well.  I grew up with the sound of Scottish accents and laughter and songs.  These were not the Calvinist Scots of which so much has been written.  On the contrary, I’ll never forget the long pause and passed looks when as a young girl, I innocently asked my grandparents, "What religion are you?"  Although I had never seen either one set foot in a church, during the cold war 50s, everyone belonged to some church, so they would not be mistaken for Godless Commies.  After that long silence my grandmother said, “Well, we’re Presbyterians, I guess.”  (I think they were Godless Commies myself, after all, he was the shop steward at work)

My grandfather’s family came from a small fishing village on the Moray Firth above Inverness on the Black Isle.  They were all fishermen, sailors or ship builders until my great-grandfather became a tailor and left the area with his brothers.  The village itself, Avoch (pronounced Ock - imagine a German cat coughing up a hairball), is a pretty place of small streets and shops.  The taxi driver in Inverness, hearing my maiden name nodded and said “Aye, Avoch.”  Certain names are connected to certain places in the Highlands and our name is tied to that village. It reminded me a bit of Lochduhb, although it is located on the North Sea rather than an inland lake.

Reading A Highland Christmas was like a holiday journey home for me.  But it was to a home that could only exist in a dream.  Or in a novel by M.C. Beaton.

Hamish Macbeth is the policeman of the tiny village of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands. Think of a young Jimmy Stewart with red hair and you may get close to this adorable, somewhat awkward and superficially lazy Scot.  Contented as a village bobby, Hamish has no desire for any advancement that would take him from his ready source of poached trout and salmon.  

A Christmas spent amidst the dour Scots who cling to the teachings of John Knox looks to be a bleak one for Hamish.  He will be alone this year while his family enjoys a holiday in Florida thanks to a winning slogan that his mother submitted for an advertising campaign.  

The highlands of Scotland only receive a few hours of daylight during the winter, so the theft of the Christmas lights of the neighboring town of Cnothan, as well as that town’s Christmas tree is a serious concern.  The suspects range from teenage vandals to strict religious fundamentalists.  Hamish’s job, in the absence of Cnothan’s constable, is to find them.  In addition he also has to find a missing cat belonging to the meanest old lady in his own town of Lochdubh.  

Throw in a little romance, a little Christmas music at an old folks’ home, a road trip in a VW bus with cozy chintz seat covers and you have the perfect blend of a frothy sweet cozy to finish off a heavy holiday meal.  Fans of the Hamish Macbeth series will recognize the residents of Lochdubh as they make their appearances in this holiday novella.  Those new to the series will hopefully want to try some of the other cozies, none of which are quite this sweet.  

But it is, after all, a holiday tale and just like Aunt Gail’s Spiced Rum Egg Nog, it is seasonally appealing.

Other novels in the Hamish Macbeth series are:

Death of a Gossip (1985)
Death of a Cad (1987)
Death of an Outsider (1988)
Death of a Perfect Wife (1989)
Death of a Hussy (1991)
Death of a Snob (1992)
Death of a Prankster (1992)
Death of a Glutton (1993)
Death of a Travelling Man (1993)
Death of a Charming Man (1994)
Death of a Nag (1995)
Death of a Macho Man (1996)
Death of a Dentist (1997)
Death of a Scriptwriter (1998)
Death of an Addict (1999)
A Highland Christmas (1999)
Death of a Dustman (2001)
Death of a Celebrity (2002)
Death of a Village (2003)
Death of a Poison Pen (2004)
Death of a Bore (2005)
Death of a Dreamer (2006)
Death of a Maid (2007)
Death of a Gentle Lady (2008)
Death of a Witch (2009)
Death of a Valentine (2010)
Death of a Sweep (2011)
Death of a Kingfisher (2012)

M.C. Beaton is the name under which Marion Chesney writes her mystery novels.  Under her own name, and other pseudonyms, she has written over a hundred historical Regency romances and Edwardian mysteries.  In the States she is best known for her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries.

She was born in Scotland in 1936 and has always worked with words, first in a bookshop in Glasgow and then as a journalist in Scotland and London.  Her husband, Henry, took a job in Oyster Bay, Florida, and they spent some time in the United States that included a brief stint waiting tables and washing dishes in Virginia and writing for The Star - yes, the Rupert Murdoch tabloid - before returning to the UK and buying a sheep croft in Sutherland, Scotland.  Although it provided the perfect setting for Hamish Macbeth’s adventures, Marion (“I have pavement for bones,”) Chesney was never really comfortable isolated up in Scotland, especially when their son was in school in London, so they moved to the Cotswolds where she invented Agatha Raisin.

As Marion Chesney she has written a series of four Edwardian mysteries which she had to put aside due to the popularity of the MacBeth and Raisin series.  Is anyone familiar with these?  I've long enjoyed her tales of Scotland, and a couple of the early Cotswold novels, but I haven't read any of her novels in this series.

Snobbery with Violence(2003)
Hasty Death (2004)
Sick of Shadows (2005)
Our Lady of Pain(2006)

As M.C. Beaton she has written these cozy mysteries starring the irascible retired PR agent, Agatha Raisin, who has relocated from London to the Cotswold town of Carsely.  She is an interesting character who will never be mistaken for Jane Marple or Jessica Fletcher.

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (1992)
Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet (1993)
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (1994)
Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley(1995)
Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage(1996)
Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist (1997)
Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death(1998)
Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham(1999)
Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden(1999)
Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam (2000)
Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell (2001)
Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came(2002)
Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate (2003)
Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House (2003)
Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance (2004)
Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon (2005)
Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor (2006)
Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye(2007)
Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison (2008)
Agatha Raisin: There Goes The Bride (2009)
Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body (2010)
The Agatha Raisin Companion (2010)
As the Pig Turns (2011)


Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 05:00 PM PST.

Also republished by DKOMA and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I hope that however you spent the Holiday weekend (54+ / 0-)

    will provide cherished memories for the future!

    Link to MMM Books.

    Tentative Schedule:

    01/02/12  Review of the 2011 Mystery Awards
    01/09/12  Winter Queen, by Boris Akunin
    01/16/12  Mystery Readers’ Guide to the World Wide Web
    01/23/12  quarkstomper's retelling of The Hound of the Baskervilles
    01/30/12  Mind’s Eye, by Hakkan Nesser
    02/06/12  A look at the Kathleen Mallory series by Carol O’Connell, from glorificus

    There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. - Elizabeth Warren

    by Susan Grigsby on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 03:47:56 PM PST

  •  Enjoyed hearing about your background (22+ / 0-)

    I've enjoyed several trips to Scotland, and am a fan of many of its mystery authors, especially the grittier ones such as Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. I have tried a few in Beaton's Hamish series, but they were a little too tame for me.  Have avoided the Raisin series after glancing at them at the public library.   I asked the librarian why she bought all of the Beaton books since the budget is so tiny, and she replied that she gets much more circulation from them compared to the Rankin books, for instance.  Such is life, and I deny no one a cozy nook with a cozy book.

    I will message you about writing a diary for the series as soon as I make up my mind between two authors.

    Thanks for doing this, and I am eagerly awaiting the diaries by quark and glorificus.  

    Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

    by jarbyus on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 05:42:28 PM PST

  •  Hey, Susan, you've got one of my (17+ / 0-)

    favs here. I enjoyed your presentation and your family history too!

    In the last couple three years I read almost every single MacBeth and Agatha written, though one or two may have not been available. Missed the last one or two of each as I'd stopped after reading them, about a year ago.

    When reading them it felt like I'd discovered some fun, familiar, comfortable and yes, cozy, place in which to curl up with friends. It was where I wanted to be! I even carted a couple of these library books from FL to Boston to my son's wedding a couple of years ago as my reading material.

    For anyone who hasn't read them, they are undemanding and somewhat similar, yey the two series completely different. Agatha reminded me of an old friend I loved and occasionally hated at the same time. She is full of dreadful flaws and constantly gets in trouble, yet is endearing for her weaknesses. Hamish is a salt of the earth, uncannily perceptive character and his quaint tiny village seems to be always hopping. Love his love life and dog too.

    I hope to forget them all so I can go back and read them again in a few years. Thanks for taking me back.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 06:00:11 PM PST

    •  I read Hamish Macbeth mysteries one summer when (12+ / 0-)

      it was too hot to go outside and we were too poor to travel.  But once you stop, it gets hard to know where to start again, so I am going back to a year before that summer to see if any plots feel familiar.

      But yes, they are simply comfortable books to spend time in.  For me they bring back fond childhood memories and the sound of Scottish voices.  When we traveled in Scotland my husband could not understand a single word spoken by Glaswegians. Thanks to my granddad I had no such problems.

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 06:17:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't believe this is the topic tonight (0+ / 0-)

      I just finished my very first MC Beaton book today "Skeleton in the Closet" and started my first Hamish McBeth book this afternoon. I was going to go with Agatha Raisin series but Death of a Gossip caught my attention. How fortuitous that I found this diary tonight! I'm really excited about this author!


      by voracious on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 06:21:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I loved your background story (13+ / 0-)

    My mother's family was from Scotland.  I really didn't know my grandparents very well, but I can tell you that they weren't "dour Scotspeople".  My grandfather was a rather extraordinary man, but unfortunately he was way too fond of pretty much any alcoholic beverage, and by the time I knew him, he had rather ruined his life.  My mother talked about the parties that her parents had when she was growing up.  She said pretty much every Saturday night someone got in an argument with my grandfather and they ended up locked in the bathroom when he got his shotgun and then the guest escaped through the bathroom window.  That's what she remembered - I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't happen on a weekly basis, but the parties sounded pretty lively in any case.

    My sister just came back from a brief visit to Edinburgh.  She said she was surprised that people didn't have an accent.  Later she realized it was just that she was so familiar with the Scottish accent that it didn't strike her as being unusual.

    I just finished The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin.   I'll be interested in the discussion of the book in January.  I'm now reading Bloodmoney by David Ignatius.  I am enjoying it a lot - it's action-packed and easy to dislike the bad guys and root for the good guys in this one (although not everyone is a guy).  He's going on my list of authors to read again.

    •  No such parties in my grandparents house, at least (7+ / 0-)

      not when the grandchildren were present.  We lived down the street from them, and when my parents divorced, my brothers, Dad and I stayed with them for a few months until Dad found another bride.

      At my dad's funeral, my uncle (dad's sister's husband) told me how my grandfather would offer my uncle a beer, but not make the same offer to his three sons.  Which, as contentious as they became when alcohol was around was probably a good practice.

      Haven't read any David Ignatius yet.  What type of mysteries does he write?

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 06:27:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  To quote the blurb about the (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vgranucci, cfk, Susan from 29, Emmet

        author:  "David Ignatius, a prize-winning columnist for the Washington Post, has covered the Middle East and the CIA for many years."  The book is about the U.S. and Pakistan and a secret group similar to, but separate from, the CIA.  It's the only book of his I've read, so I can't speak to any of the others he's written - yet, but I hope to!

  •  Have only been to Edinburgh. And was (10+ / 0-)

    so absorbed in International and Fringe Festivals I saw nothing else. Keep meaning to read Rankin.

    am enjoying the new PD James.

    •  I am so jealous. Have never been to Edinburgh (10+ / 0-)

      during the Festivals.  I understand it gets just a little crazy.

      If you liked the city aspects of Edinburgh, as opposed to the tourist aspects, you will like Rankin.  I had read some of his work before our first visit and got a big map of Edinburgh so I could find the places of his stories.  It made the visit a lot more enjoyable.

      I'd like to hear more about what you think of PD James' latest when you are done.

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 06:33:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love Scotland too, and have British ties (7+ / 0-)

    (with a name like Wickwire that's a given, heh). It was my great good luck to be able to spend about a week traveling around Scotland in 1979 (though I did lose my expensive camera on the train on that trip!). The Isle of Skye and that coast was especially beautiful and the whole place delightful.

    Spending time over there made me love the place, the people I met and friends made, though at the time I never dreamed it was the start of this 30 year love affair with British mysteries.

    If I'd not spent time in Britain and my comfort level there, I don't think I'd have been nearly as interested in these novels, probably would never have gotten started. Wonder if it's that way for others.

    Looks like a quiet night here in the mystery corner so I'll go snuggle up with my new Patricia Highsmith. According to Graham Greene this novel taking place in Tunisia is her "finest." From the intro by Francine Prose (whoever she is):

    It's easy enough to see why Greene would have liked a work that.... seamlessly combine(s) the metaphysical, the criminal, and the historical. Provocative and funny, at once dark and illuminating, The Tremor of Forgery is a highly unusual tour de force; a near-perfect political-spiritual-psychosexual thriller.

    I wonder if anyone here has read it or any of her other books? I read a few years ago. She is a most highly regarded crime novelist.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 06:27:22 PM PST

  •  A Couple More Scottish Murders (13+ / 0-)

    Although I've never read any M.C. Beaton, I do have a couple other mysteries set in Scotland which I've enjoyed.

    I'm sure many of the readers here are familiar with The Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers.  Lord Peter Wimsey is vacationing in Scotland near an artist's colony.  When one of the artists is found dead in a stream, it is assumed to be an accident; but looking over the scene, Lord Peter realizes that something is missing, and that something means it was murder.  

    Six other artists all have strong reasons to kill the deceased; and all six of them have red hair.  (Hence the punny title).  Towards the end there's a tedious stretch where Lord Peter tries to break an alibi based on a railway timetable, but apart from that it's an entertaining read.

    So is John Dickson Carr's The Case of the Constant Suicides.  Angus Campbell had spent nearly all of the family's fortune on get-rich schemes, and the rest he had invested in life insurance.  So why on earth would he want to jump to his death from the castle tower?  Was he murdered by a bitter ex-partner?  Was he driven to despair by a family ghost?  And is it even possible to make tartan plaid ice cream?

    This mystery contains not one but two neat locked-room problems by the master of the locked-room.  And it features Carr's brilliant bombastic detective, Dr. Gideon Fell.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 07:04:51 PM PST

  •  I adore Hamish MacBeth! (12+ / 0-)

    Myself, I can't see that he's all that lazy.  He certainly is willing to go the extra mile to investigate crimes.  Unambitious, yes, but what's wrong with that?  It's great to know that you love a particular place and feel you belong there, and to refuse a promotion would take you away to a nasty town with polluted air.

    I'm reading the Agatha Raisin series now.  I don't exactly like her, but she's quite human.  She does have redeeming qualities.

    I liked those Edwardian mysteries too, but not as much as the Hamish ones.  I read every single one of Chesney's Regency romances because they were howl-out-loud hilarious!  My husband thought I was insane, laughing hysterically in bed when we retired for the night.

    It's interesting that your Scottish grandparents didn't go to church!  For years I imagined that all Scots were Presbyterians, until I started doing research for a novel.  I found to my surprise that quite a few Scots were, and are still, Catholic--mostly in the Highlands, I read.  We visited Scotland years ago, and enjoyed it.  Didn't get to stay long enough!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 07:26:37 PM PST

    •  I do think they were Godless Commies. At least (6+ / 0-)

      strong socialists.  Religion was never part of their lives, as far as I can tell.  The Highlands were loyal to the Catholic Church and monarchy long after the death of Queen Mary.  IIRC, Prince Charlie was Catholic, and much of the support for the '45 came from Catholic France.  

      But even though my family has roots in the Highlands, the families in Avoch did not belong to any Clan nor offer allegiance to any Laird.  They didn't speak Gaelic or Scots but used a lot of Quaker type colloquialisms in their English - thee and thou, etc.  None of us have been able to discover their origin before they appeared early in the 16th century in Avoch.

      So which Regency romance should I start with? She made an appearance at a B&N in NYC during 2001 that was covered by Rakehell, a website that specializes in Regency romances.  Apparently she had the audience in stitches.  Was the hysteria she created in you intentional, do you think?

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Susan Grigsby on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 08:01:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have read all the Regency series.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, Emmet, Mnemosyne, oceanview

        They are, like all of Chesney's writing, light and frothy - but have marvellous characters. I liked the 'House for the Seasons' series, the 'School for Manners' (the two old ladies are great fun), the 'Poor Relation' series (starving relations of wealthy people join forces and steal from their relatives to start a hotel) and the 'Daughters of Mannerling'. They are perfect reads for busy people - I can put a book down and pick it up for a few minutes here and there and know that I haven't missed any subtleties. They follow a pattern: odd but beautiful girl meets titled and/or very wealthy aristocrat, they dislike each other, adventures occur and she ends up in his arms, of course. It is the side characters that make the stories fun - the books are full of strange and amusing people.
        If you read these books, read each series in order.

        •  I should have read your comment first, robert62! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29

          You've remembered the names of the series, which I was unable to do.  The books sort of blur into each other when you read 200 of them in succession, as I did.  (I had my reasons for taking refuge in brain candy.)

          But yes, you're right, the books are indeed full of strange and amusing people.  I loved the one about the girl who wanted to be a "son" to her father, and who rode astride, dressed in men's clothes, and smoked cigars!

          "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

          by Diana in NoVa on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 06:23:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, probably it was intentional! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29

        OMG, there were so many that Marion Chesney wrote!  You could just pick one at random and begin with that.  There was one particularly hilarious series about three sisters who were adopted by a rich woman who loathed men and didn't want any of the sisters to marry.  

        The sisters had quite different ideas, however.

        Oh, and there was the series about the house in Mayfair, where all the servants lived in misery during his lordship's absence.  They had all sorts of adventures and managed, bit by bit, to better their lot.

        Oh, and there was the series about the somewhat unorthodox gentlemen and ladies who fell on hard times and resorted to um, redistributing property that wasn't theirs to begin with.  Somehow they got away with it.

        Oh, and not to mention the series about the two sisters who "polished" young ladies from the country so they'd "fit into London society" during the season.  They called it "acquiring town bronze."

        My favorite, although I can't quite remember the name of it, was about impoverished aristocrats who lived well above their means in a ratty old castle in Cornwall.  Rooms would crumble and then fall into the sea.  The parents were eccentric to the MAX!  It was so funny.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 06:20:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ever seen any of the Hamish MacBeth (7+ / 0-)

      series (done for the BBC I believe)? The actor, while excellent and quirky, doesn't look like the book's description--not exceptionally tall, the hair, etc. Once you get over that you can enjoy them, especially the scenery!

      Prolific authors like Beaton really get me. But honestly I think she must have written half of the Raisin novels in her sleep!

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 08:11:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It was broadcast here on BBCA, I think, at about (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MT Spaces, vgranucci, cfk, Gorette, Emmet, oceanview

        the same time as the Monarch of the Glen, which we also enjoyed.  

        I have to admit that between the two M.C. Beaton series, I prefer Hamish.  The family is watching It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart in the other room, and that is who Hamish Macbeth will always look like to me.

        "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

        by Susan Grigsby on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 08:18:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's how I heard about Hamish Macbeth (5+ / 0-)

          when the series was on BBCA about 6 or 7 years ago.  I enjoyed the quirkiness of the characters.

          I bought one of the books at a half price bookstore and I see it's in the middle of your list ("Death of a Dentist").  I haven't yet read it but did try one of the Agatha Raisin books and enjoyed it.  She was not very likable but there was enough humor to make it fun.

          "You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!" Wicked Witch of the West

          by Texnance on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 10:40:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The actor is Robert Carlyle (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, oceanview

        He was also the guy who recruited the group that stripped in "The Full Monty" and is now a delightfully evil Rumplestiltskin in "Once Upon a Time" on TV.

        •  That's right, Robert Carlyle! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29, susans

          I couldn't believe the producers of the Hamish MacBeth progran couldn't find a lanky red-headed Scot to play him so that was very disappointing for me.

          But I love the books; I have (or had) every one of them that were out at the time.

          Beaton's discription of the weather conditions in Lochdubh, in one particular book whose title I don't recall, was so severe I could hear the achingly cold wind whistling and so wanted to go up into that area just to experience it.

          •  Agree with you, IndyReader (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Susan from 29

            She describes Hamish as being very tall, redhaired, and handsome, so with that in my mind I'd be very disappointed in watching a Hamish that didn't fit that description.

            It often amuses me to contemplate the exceptionally low sex drive of these characters.  Although young and presumably full of beans, they seem able to live for years without It.  Goodness, that is so unlike the people I know.

            "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

            by Diana in NoVa on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 06:28:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  My Scottish ancestors ... (8+ / 0-)

    ... had busy feet!

    Quite a few emigrated to Belfast, then some relocated back to Carlisle after three generations or so and linked up with the Buchanans, who went to the bitter cold port of Rothsey.

    My direct ancestors moved to the USA from there -- then by train, wagon, and foot to Utah.

    Lottery for dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Obama without a campaign contribution --

    by MT Spaces on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 07:57:22 PM PST

  •  There's a McDonald "clan" ... (6+ / 0-)

    ... in this part of Montana.

    They are descended from the very same McDonald family whose men were murdered by the Campbells in the 1700s.

    Some brothers and cousins took ship after the massacre and went to work for the Northwest Company of Canada trading furs.
    Their progeny are members of Pend d'Orielle, Nez Perce, and other upriver Salish Nations. There's a Mount McDonald (10,000+ feet) and famous McDonald Lake in Glacier Nat'l Park.

    Lottery for dinner with Mr. & Mrs. Obama without a campaign contribution --

    by MT Spaces on Mon Dec 26, 2011 at 08:04:57 PM PST

  •  Yes I've read (and loved) the Edwardian Series (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Emmet, oceanview

    and have been sorry not to see any new ones. Also love the Agatha Raisin but have inexplicably avoided the Hamish Macbeth series. Thanks for this--I'll be reading that series now as well.

  •  That sounds like fun. My stepdad was a Scot. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, Emmet, Mnemosyne, oceanview

    I didn't know until two weeks before he died that he was an immigrant. I thought he was first gen.

    He had brain cancer and suddenly began speaking in a thick Scottish brogue. It helped me to understand a lot about him.

    And even though it all went wrong I'll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah! -Leonard Cohen .................@laurenreichelt

    by TheFatLadySings on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 07:24:13 AM PST

  •  Wonderful diary, Susan. (4+ / 0-)

    You bring your family history to life.

    I'd heard of Hamish McBeth, and will try the novella.  I'm trying to read Catch-22 at the moment (promised my son), while the latest and last Miss Zukas waits on my Kindle.

    Happy New Year!

  •  Thank you! (5+ / 0-)

    I read Chesney's stuff over and over -- I especially like the regency series she's written as a leveller:

    The Levellerswere a political movement during the English Civil Wars which emphasised popular sovereignty, extended suffrage, equality before the law, and religious tolerance, all of which were expressed in the manifesto "Agreement of the People". They came to prominence at the end of the First English Civil War and were most influential before the start of the Second Civil War. Leveller views and support were found in the populace of the City of London and in some regiments in the New Model Army.

    The levellers were not a political party in the modern sense of the word, and did not all conform to a specific manifesto. They were organised at the national level, with offices in a number of London inns and taverns such as The Rosemary Branch in Islington which got its name from the sprigs of rosemary that Levellers would wear in their hat as a sign of identification....

    A House for the Season details the plight and struggles of the servant class and A Traveling Matchmaker focuses on the rise of an orphan who is taught to read and manage and becomes an upper servant who finally marries into the upper classes.
  •  Was in Edinburg this last October for a wee visit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    Stopped at a bookstore and bought the latest Rankin. The Impossible Dead....but I put it down when I was halfway and have forgotten the thread!!!!! I picked it up again last night and decided to start is coming back so I may be able to finish soon.
    I bought it at Waterstone's on Princes Street and this edition contains a short story!. Rankin was doing a signing at Waterstone's on December 8 and I was tempted to hop a flight back....but....flying is not as much fun as it used to be. I think I am getting a little elderly because my feet swell.

    Anyway, I've now some other authors to discover!

    My Grandmother was from Edinburg and my Grandfather was from Glasgow. They came here in 1910. It is a lot of fun to return to the city of your relatives and walk the streets eventhough I know so much has changed and "Old Reekie" is a lot nicer than in 1910.

    Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

    by Temmoku on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 03:59:12 PM PST

    •  Getting old sucks, it is truly not for the faint (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of heart. Here is what it may have cost you:

      Every year, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, the Princes Street Gardens are transformed into 'Winter Wonderland'. This includes a variety of amusement park rides and the Christmas Market; which has food and gifts from all around the world. The most notably attractions are the ice rink and the 33 metre (108 feet) high Ferris wheel, often dubbed 'The Edinburgh Eye'. Also during this time, a number of nearby theatres host pantomime and other Christmas/Winter plays. Notable theatres included are the Edinburgh Playhouse and the King's Theatre.

      Wouldn't that be something to see?

      I think I stopped at the same Waterstone in 2001 and picked up The Falls.  It hadn't yet been released in the US.

      "I cannot live without books" -- Thomas Jefferson, 1815

      by Susan Grigsby on Tue Dec 27, 2011 at 07:58:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ach aye! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29

        It would be a worthwhile trip.
        I've been to the Fringe and the Tattoo twice and those were well worth the weeks we spent there.
        An easy city to get around with good public transportation and friendly people who are glad to help!

        Character is what you are in the dark. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Bonzai

        by Temmoku on Wed Dec 28, 2011 at 07:00:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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