Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Heart in the Highlands

Highland constable Hamish MacBeth is back in his 21st mystery, Death of a Dreamer. For those of you not yet initiated into the world of Lochdubh, Scotland, a small town in the far north of the highlands, go to this website for a synopsis of some of the previous books in the series. I would recommend any of the earlier books in the series, but this is not one of the best.
M. C. Beaton also writes the Agatha Raisin mystery series, and under the name Marion Chesney she writes Regency romances.
The character of MacBeth and the other eccentric villagers is the real draw in these books, although the mysteries can be quite fun too. I was surprised to read that Beaton, is a Scot herself, born in Glasgow in 1939. The series relies for humor on some pretty broad stereotypes of the "Highland character" according to the author. These are stereotypes which are not even familiar to Americans, but which seem slightly insulting at times. Her Highlanders are quick to anger, reserved to a fault, lazy, unambitious and on and on. In the "politically correct" atmosphere in the United States, this kind of regional stereotyping would never fly. Even Carl Hiassen's corrupt Floridians are not portrayed as being typical, but only as a bad minority which he balances with the more ethical characters in every book.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bravo Anne