Death of a Liar

Death of a LiarDeath of a Liar by M.C. Beaton
Series: Hamish Macbeth Mysteries
Genres: Mystery
Published by Grand Central Publishing on February 5, 2015
Pages: 273

 

In the village of Cromish, Liz Bentley is known to be an avid liar. So when she calls Sergeant Hamish Macbeth and tells him someone is trying to break into her home, he delays responding to her call. Unfortunately, this time Liz isn’t ‘crying wolf’; there is indeed an intruder and he murders her. As Hamish is working to uncover the identity of her killer, he starts to suspect Liz’s murder is connected to another death. However, the deeper he digs, the more complex the mystery becomes. With a sparse writing style, but intriguing storyline, Death of a Liar is a fun, easy to read mystery.

If M.C. Beaton had not written so many books, I would seriously question her writing style.

Before this book, I had not read M.C. Beaton. To be quite honest, if she had not written so many books, I would seriously question her writing style. It is quite sparse. There is precious little detail and issues that I’ve seen other authors take 20 pages to resolve are taken care of in just a few paragraphs. Surprisingly though, this style works. I’m not sure how or why (nor do I think just anyone can pull it off), but with very little description or setting up of scenes, I easily found myself immersed in the Scottish highlands and enjoying a nice intriguing mystery.

Hamish Macbeth makes for quite an interesting character. He’s sharp, but not infallible. It’s always refreshing when the detective in a book misses a few clues and/or draws some incorrect conclusions. It makes them much more believable. While he has his flaws, Hamish genuinely seems to care about the people he serves and strives to protect them. The end result is a well-rounded hero that easily carries the story.

 Death of a Liar has several storylines, that all work very well together.

Death of a Liar has several storylines, that all work very well together. There are multiple mysteries to unravel, which stem from Liz’s murder. For the most part, the mysteries require a decent amount of thought and are difficult to solve. But sometimes the answer to the mystery becomes obvious because of additional details that in other scenes would have been omitted. This is really the main area where the sparse writing becomes an issue. While I do think this style mostly works for this story, my personal preference is for a little bit more depth and more drawn out suspense.

Death of a Liar is a fun book that will have a strong appeal for mystery lovers looking for a more gentle crime novel.

To start at book thirty-one in a series, I didn’t feel like I needed prior knowledge to understand what was going on. M.C. does a wonderful job of including enough backstory for different relationships that the reader isn’t left wondering why a character behaves a certain way. This is a general market book, but there is very little content that would give pause to a sensitive reader. It contains minimal coarse language, violence, and sexual references.

Death of a Liar is a different sort of book for me. It isn’t as intense as most of the crime novels I read, nor is it fluffy or filled with extraneous material. This book moves at a very nice pace and kept me engaged throughout. Overall, Death of a Liar is a fun book that will have a strong appeal for mystery lovers looking for a more gentle crime novel.

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