Recently I was introduced to M.C.Beaton’s Agatha Raisin books. The first I tried was a disaster for me. I then borrowed another one from the library, and was more impressed. But people on Facebook, etc. said you should try Hamish Macbeth books by the same author. So I did.
Happily, my local library allows me to borrow ebooks fairly easily, and stick them on my Kobo and they have a plentiful supply of Hamish Macbeth books.
I’ve read three so far (Death of a Hussy, Charming Man, Bore), all out of sequence, I think, but it doesn’t really matter. They take about an evening’s reading for me to get through, and they can’t be classed as Great Literature, but they are fun.
Hamish is a far more sympathetic character than Agatha. He’s got genuine relationships with those around him (which is something lacking in Agatha’s case, I think). I enjoy his battles with authority, since they’re not based on perversity, but on lack of ambition and laziness.
I can see that the characters actually develop over time, as well. There is, even after three books, a sense of something evolving in the community in which seems more plausible than the ragbag of Agatha Raisin’s contacts.
It’s a shame that all the crimes seem to be murders, though often accompanied by other diversionary misdeeds – I appreciate other crimes as well as murders – but I am certainly not Hamish Macbeth-ed out just yet. There’s certainly room in my life for a few more.