• Death of a Kingfisher

  • A Hamish Macbeth Mystery
  • By: M. C. Beaton
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (601 ratings)

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Death of a Kingfisher

By: M. C. Beaton
Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
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Publisher's Summary

When Scotland is hit by the recession, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices that the Highland people are forced to come up with inventive ways to lure tourists to their sleepy towns. The quaint village of Braikie doesn't have much to offer, other than a place of rare beauty called Buchan's Wood, which was bequeathed to the town. The savvy local tourist director renames the woods "The Fairy Glen," and has brochures printed with a beautiful photograph of a kingfisher rising from a pond on the cover. It isn't long before coach tours begin to arrive. But just as the town's luck starts to turn, a kingfisher is found hanging from a branch in the woods with a noose around its neck. As a wave of vandalism threatens to ruin Braikie forever, the town turns to Hamish Macbeth. And when violence strikes again, the lawman's investigation quickly turns from animal cruelty to murder.

©2012 Marion Chesney. All rights reserved. (P)2012 AudioGo

What listeners say about Death of a Kingfisher

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    16
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Performance
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Story
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Chilling!

This is one exciting but chilling story! It has the light moments of all the Macbeth books, but the bad guys in this one are truly scary. I was surprised that the author wove so many different characters and sub stories together in such a way that I was able to keep track of all of them. I'm sure the excellent narration aided with that. Blair is still the consummate jerk. Hamish is even more genius and ingenious than usual. And romance takes a back seat in this book. Did you know that fairies are not like little Tinkerbells but are supposed to be little dark men who are not necessarily friendly? Do you believe in them? You may wonder if they are real after listening to Death of a Kingfisher.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not as Good as it Should Be

Would you try another book from M. C. Beaton and/or Graeme Malcolm?

I have read many of M.C. Beaton's books. I am not sure if I would read another Hamish book, though.

What could M. C. Beaton have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

This needed a more plausible story line, more deeply developed characters, and less hopelessness.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

The performance is fine but not as good as some of the narrators of earlier books. The accents would often slip and the narrator didn't seem to understand the characters.

Did Death of a Kingfisher inspire you to do anything?

No.

Any additional comments?

It may be time for M.C. Beaton to quit writing Hamish books, and this book has all the hallmarks of a lead-up to a sendoff. I would anticipate that the next Hamish book has him fading into the sunset in some way, and that would probably be good. The author seems to have stopped liking Hamish and the Highlands. Her stories used to make me want to fly to Inverness immediately and hire a car to drive all around northern Scotland. Now she makes it sound simply drug-ridden, depressed, and dumpy. I don't know if the author is deeply bitter or if she's just lost interest, but if you are a Hamish fan, you might leave off with Death of a Chimney Sweep.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A delightful, tangled web of intrigue!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book is delightful, especially for M C Beaton fans, who have learned to suspend disbelief and simply enjoy the odd characters that inhabit Hamish Macbeth's life and the author's amazing imagination. I expect her books to be fraught with plot twists and turns and unusual characters. The humor in this book revolved around the highlanders' belief in fairies, and I howled with laughter when listening to the description of the kingfisher's funeral.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The plot didn't exactly keep me on the "edge of my seat," but I was certainly fascinated by the crafting of the action and introduction of new characters and their motives. I've read other readers'/listeners' criticism of the personality and actions of the flat, amoral children, but I've seen that facial affect in the televised interviews with children of gang life. (I did think that the European escape was a bit "over-the-top", but I dismiss devices like this as part of M.C. Beaton's charm.) As usual this plot is a mixture of the familiar (Hamish's troubles with his superiors, the village characters, the desire by Macbeth to keep his beloved friends out of the murder investigation) with unusual devices that make the action complicated and interesting (the Russian who wants the nursery property as a site for his mansion). I loved it. I don't require M.C. Beaton to be believable at all times.....how could you possibly believe Nessie and Jessie with their verbal repetition and outlandish accusations about Hamish's love life? But it works.

What does Graeme Malcolm bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Malcolm has a sense of timing..pausing between scenes, changing voices in a subtle manner so the listener always knows when the speaker changes, but effecting the change in an unobtrusive manner....no screeching or phlegmy voices. His voices add a sense of continuity and realism to the Scottish brogue.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I will never forget the hilarity of the kingfisher's funeral.......so funny and outlandish.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Not up to parr

Would you try another book from M. C. Beaton and/or Graeme Malcolm?

I have read or listened to almost all of Beaton's books - Hamish McBeth and Mrs. Raisin. I liked them all but this one was missing something, besides being unbelievable.

Also, while the narrator isn't bad and I wouldn't mind him in another book, his performance in this one was a disappointment. For one thing, he was just too British sounding for a story in the Scottish highlands. But he also just didn't capture Hamish's personality.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Graeme Malcolm?

I wouldn't listen to another Hamish McBeth book with him. He might be "okay" in other locations.

Was Death of a Kingfisher worth the listening time?

It wasn't horrible... I did listen to it.. but I wouldn't be inspired to read another Beaton book if I didn't know her other books were better.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

We don't need random music in the background

This book has annoying music that plays in the background that's not only banal, but unrelated to what's going on in the plot. It's as if someone randomly turned odd bits of music on and off. It's distracting and doesn't enhance the experience of listening to the book. An author's work can speak for itself. It doesn't need embellishments. As for the text, this is another entertaining MacBeth book well-read by Malcom. Please, no more sound effects.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Dirty Pool!

Introducing a new character at the end who committed most of the murders and crimes is just not fair in a mystery story! Other than that, I have enjoyed every Hamish Macbeth story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Consistent Characters, Far Fetched Plot

As the other reviewers have already pointed out, while Beaton's characters are their usual eccentric and entertaining selves, the "murder mystery" of this book (the plot), is far fetched and rather strains the power of one's ability to suspend disbelief. While it was, as always, fun to spend time with my favorite Highland police constable, Hamish Macbeth, I feel as though there are better books in the series, ones that do not leave you wondering "wait...WHO did it? Huh?" It was just too implausible.
But, it's not stopping me from turning to the next book in the series, as they're always reliably predictable in their fun characters, fantastic narration (as long as it's Graeme Malcolm) and formulistic style. As long as you don't expect this series to be something it's not, you'll never be disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Good use of kids

I’m a little surprised that some thought this below par. I’d put it above the average for the series. First, there’s more novelty, without forgetting any characters and their foibles, MCB adds some folklore and kids with agency. It’s hard to write about children and so many books treat them as just something parents worry about. MCB isn’t quite Dickens here but her kids are active and she handles them deftly.
Also I liked the mood of the book. More camaraderie. After about 25 years experience as a 30 something bobby, Hamish seems to fit in better with a great multitude of familiar characters.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Quite dark

This story was quite dark compared to other Hamish Macbeth mysteries. Did not feel like a cosy mystery at all. Nonetheless, the narration was excellent. And it kept me wondering who was responsible. The ending for me was unsatisfactory and dragged out. I missed the usual characters and their interactions. Dick is a nice addition.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Masterfully read by Graeme Malcolm

Loved it. Graeme Malcolm's nuanced voice of a thousand subtlties spirited me to Beaton's Scotland of Hamish Macbeth, local copper who lets others take the credit when he solves the murders lest he be promoted and have to leave his highland village to live in the dirty city. I love Beaton's locals, their ancient culture of gossip and superstition mixed with cell phones. But Malcolm's voice is like a wonderful piece of classical music full of melodic notes, tones and surprises. Bravo.

1 person found this helpful