Book log: MC Beaton — Death of a Perfect Wife

Book 76

Fourth in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series. I’ve read the first two, and skipped the third because the shop didn’t have it when I picked up 1, 2, 4 and 5. I have no intention of looking for the third, because this is the last of the series I’ll bother reading.

As with the other books, this has the lazy, amiable village policeman having to deal with murder coming to his otherwise sleepy village. In this case, Hamish spots Trixie Thomas as a potential murder victim fairly on, thanks to her behaviour. Trixie is the perfect housewife, who is so competent that she has time to run her new bed and breakfast business, scrounge up furniture from the locals to furnish her b&b that just happens to fetch a nice penny at the antiques auctions back in the big city, and take the other housewives in the village in hand — frequently to the chagrin of their husbands, who liked life better before healthy diets, lack of smoking, and the taking up of causes came to the village. Hamish is not in the least bit surprised when she’s found dead of poison.

While it’s entertaining enough with some good set pieces and social observation, the characterisations are very thin and very stereotyped, a good many of the characters are not very likeable, and much of the humour is rather spiteful. And in this volume, it’s much more noticeable that the characters the author doesn’t like are predominantly women. I didn’t comment on this in my main posts on the first two books, but it came up in discussion on one of the blog posts that you can see that MC Beaton dislikes other women. As I said in that comment thread, it wasn’t that blatant in the first two I read, because a lot of her male characters are very unsympathetic as well. This is why I wasn’t sure if it was authorial snobbery or misogyny in “Cad” — it could well have been the author’s dislike of certain types of people, where gender wasn’t a factor in the types. But it’s gratingly obvious after my third one that the author is contemptuous of other women, and I don’t want to read any more of the books, even though I adored the tv series and do like some aspects of the books.

LibraryThing entry


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