Death of a Scriptwriter

M. C. Beaton, Author Mysterious Press $34 (214p) ISBN 978-0-89296-644-8
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. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
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