Monday, December 19, 2016

Mystery Monday: MC Beaton

Mystery Monday: MC Beaton

Ever heard of Marion Chesney? Probably not. How about M.C. Beaton? Probably so.

Author MC Beaton
M.C. Beaton is the pseudonym of Scottish-born writer Marion Chesney who published her first book in 1980 when she was in her mid-40s. Initially writing regency romances as a way to earn a living while staying home to raise her sun, she didn’t start publishing mysteries until five years later. By the 1990s she was so prolific, she was releasing multiple books in both genres every year. She has written novels in seventeen different series, but perhaps her most well-known characters are Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin. (Great character names!)

Hamish is a police constable in the fictional town of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands. Somewhat lazy, he manages to elude promotion while still keeping his job. Unsuccessful in love, Hamish is brilliant at solving crimes. Where he is a professional law enforcement officer, Beaton’s Agatha Raisin is the quintessential amateur sleuth. A retired public relations agent, Agatha is 53 years old and a spinster who is thrown into clearing her name when a food judge dies from poisoning after eating some of Agatha’s quiche. Both of these series have been made into TV programs.

Marion Chesney began her career as a bookseller for John Smith & Sons, Ltd. then moved into a Scottish Field magazine. However, her lack of typing and shorthand skills proved this to be a poor choice in jobs, and she was soon made fashion editor. Shortly thereafter she moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she was a crime reporter. Sometime later she moved to the Daily Express in London where she was chief woman reporter (An interesting title, yes? Did the paper have chief man reporter jobs? I doubt it!)
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Marion and her husband moved to the U.S. for a while for her husband’s job, but ultimately returned to Britain. Still writing at the age of 80, Marion published two books this year (one Hamish Macbeth, one Agatha Raisin) with another to be released in 2017.

Who is your favorite M.C. Beaton character?

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