Book Review: Death of a Chimney Sweep by M. C. Beaton

A good Chesney historical romance is a lovely way to wile away a summer afternoon, so when I learned that Marion Chesney also wrote mysteries under the name M. C. Beaton, I decided to see how her sense of humor and eccentric characters fared in a murderous Scottish village.

Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton

Publisher: Blackstone Audio Inc, 2011
Genre: Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Narrator: Graeme Malcolm
Source: Library

“In the isolated villages in the north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the chimney sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until the day that Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager’s fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn’t believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder. Then Pete’s body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens. It’s up to Hamish to discover who’s responsible for the dirty deed–and this time, the murderer may be closer than he realizes.”

From the book description on Goodreads

What I thought about Death of a Chimney Sweep

I first discovered M. C. Beaton through her historical fiction novels, which she wrote under her maiden name Marion Chesney. A good Chesney historical romance is a lovely way to wile away a summer afternoon, so when I learned that Marion Chesney also wrote mysteries under the name M. C. Beaton, I decided to see how her sense of humor and eccentric characters fared in a murderous Scottish village. 

I was not disappointed. Macbeth’s utter lack of ambition (after all getting promoted would force him to leave Lochdubh); the tug-of-war between Macbeth and his superior officer (who very much wants to close the station at Lochdubh, which of course Macbeth can’t allow because it force him to leave Lochdubh); Macbeth’s on-again, off-again romantic entanglements with women (who all insist on leaving Lochdubh); and of course the oddly charming characters that populate this lethal little town provide a humorous backdrop that keeps the tone of this cozy mystery series light enough to be entertaining, despite the death toll.  

Fun fact: Although most of her U.S. publishers now distribute all of her work (mysteries and historical romances) under the name M.C. Beaton, she has actually used several pseudonyms throughout her long career, including Marion Chesney, Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward. So if you are looking at an older edition in a used book store written by any of those people, you are really holding an M.C. Beaton. Enjoy!

Who would enjoy reading M.C. Beaton?

  • Readers who enjoy reading cozy mysteries

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