Death of a Bore Review
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Author John Heppel moves into a cottage in the small Scottish village of Lochdubh—bringing with him a little excitement for the village’s residents and another mystery for the local constable, Hamish Macbeth. Heppel decides to teach a writing class for the people of Lochdubh—and, to Hamish’s surprise, people actually show up. Throughout the village, people are investing in computers or dragging out typewriters, intent on writing a best-seller. But their dreams are dashed when Heppel turns out to be a self-centered bore who spends most of the class talking about himself—and very little time teaching them how to write.

One day, however, the news spreads that Heppel has been murdered—and the pressure is on Hamish to find his killer. Who had the motive to kill Heppel? Just about everyone in Lochdubh. Before his death, Heppel had criticized the work of Lochdubh’s aspiring authors and dashed their dreams of stardom, and they’d gone so far as to protest loudly on the local TV news. Though Hamish’s boss orders him to question each of the villagers, Hamish is convinced that none of them are capable of murder—and that the murderer must be an outsider.

Death of a Bore isn’t your typical high-energy mystery. There may be murder and mayhem in Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands, but that doesn’t stop it from being a sleepy village. Macbeth may be serious about his job—and especially about clearing the names of the people in his village—but he’s not especially dynamic. He’s just a calm, laid-back constable who enjoys living in a small village—and he wants to keep it that way, no matter how often his superiors try to promote him to a job in the city. For some, he may be a breath of fresh air after reading more abrasive, high-energy mysteries. For others, however, his demeanor may be frustrating.

Lochdubh is a quaint village, with plenty of lovable busybodies who want nothing more than to marry off the village bobby—as well as a few undesirables to make things interesting. The setting and tone give Death of a Bore a quaint, folksy feel. Be warned, however, that unless you’re familiar with the Scottish Highlands and their dialect, you may have a hard time reading the dialogue. Ms. Beaton is especially accurate in creating dialogue, but you may have a hard time understanding characters when they say things like, “I cannae wait all nicht.”

If you enjoy the laid-back style of Agatha Christie novels, you’ll enjoy reading Hamish Macbeth. But if you prefer a more fast-paced, high-energy mystery, you might want to try something else.

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