"Death of a Traitor" By M.C. Beaton with R.W. Green: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Kathleen Costa

 Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Hamish Macbeth initially was an outsider when first he arrived in Lochdubh as the constable despite having grown up a bit south of the area. Over the years, he proved himself an invaluable member of the small highland community when often overlooking some innocent poaching or minor infraction, yet he’s a formidable adversary when tranquility is breached or he senses someone is not being forthcoming. He’s a tall, lanky man with red hair that could match his disposition at a moment’s notice; he’s unmarried although he has been engaged three times with the last ending in tragedy; his companionship is more of the furry variety with Lugs, a multi-breed dog, and Sonsie, a Scottish wildcat that many are surprised to see tame. Even though he’s earned the rank of sergeant, professionally, he prefers to fly under the radar by forgoing public accolades for investigations he was key in solving. Again, he is without a constable for backup and struggling, although he won’t admit it, with the loss of Dorothy McIver, his former constable and fiancée, however, Macbeth has his job as a distraction.

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Image Source Grand Central Publishing
Death of a Traitor
Earns 5+/5 Hidden Evidence… Engaging, Clever Favorite!

Gregor Mackenzie saw Kate Hibbert walking down the road with her suitcase. There’d been enough interference by this woman over the year she’d been here that he is glad to see the back of her. But, three weeks later, she can’t be found, and her cousin, Diane Spears, is frustrated Hamish has yet to find her. There was no evidence of foul play although neighbors seemed superficial in their concern, and she’d gone off before only later to be found alive and well. Sadly, her body is found floating in The Corloch anchored with ropes and rocks. Not the outcome for which Hamish hoped.

While giving the area a cursory examination before being sidelined by the investigative team soon to arrive, he finds the victim’s suitcase and inside a cleverly hidden package. He “unofficially” takes the item from the crime scene believing it may hold evidence key to understanding what happened to the victim. He holds little confidence in those sent to investigate, and when his old friend, DCI Jimmy Anderson, is sidelined, Macbeth is asked to “root about … get to the bottom … afore anyone else.” So, what does he make of the package? Will Macbeth’s unique insights and methods of investigation prove invaluable … again? How will he manage dealing with DCI Blair, the man he holds responsible for his fiancée’s death? And will he be able to trust yet another constable assigned to his team?

Favorite Series! R.W. Green has done well continuing M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series especially with this thirty-fifth mystery. I am a staunch fan of the 90s television program starring the iconic Robert Carlyle (available on AcornTV), and since many of the storylines in the books were not adapted to the television series, it’s very entertaining to have a favorite character placed into new predicaments as well as seeing how the books differ from the show: Macbeth’s persona, Lochdubh residents, and putting a murder mystery at the center, hence all the “Death of …” titles.

In Death of a Traitor, “traitors” come in various forms, real or perceived, and play a key role in the crime, the enquiry, the red herrings, and several interpersonal relationships. The temporary partnership between Macbeth and DC David Forbes has an evolving dynamic from an obvious skepticism about loyalties to a successful collaboration. Again, DCI Blair’s role is contentious and interfering, and since his colleagues appear unable or unwilling to punish him, I wonder when karma will have a more active role in any comeuppance. The investigation is “couldn’t put down” engaging as clues reveal several incidents of blackmail, a questionable natural death is discovered, and numerous scenarios make for a compelling, if not long, suspect list. But, for us arm-chair detectives, we’re left to ponder who the killer is until late in the drama when a surprise death exposes the main suspect. The motive, however, stayed hidden to the end with a nail-biting attack and karmic consequences. Macbeth’s romance radar is on the fritz while he mourns Dorothy’s death, but fans know he won’t be out of the market for long.

I am always at the front of the line for the next Hamish Macbeth novel! R.W. Green, now on his own with this and the Agatha Raisin series, is an expert of Beaton’s work through his friendship and detailed discussions with her about the characters, the environment, and the crimes to investigate. He also continues to use some of Beaton’s structural elements to maintain continuity for long-time fans of the original work. Each chapter begins with a skull and crossbones image and a quote that supports the main theme or chapter’s focus. This book deals with trust, lies, and secrets and those that keep them, reveal them, or blackmail because of them. The cover images, however, were changed, and although in no way did it effect my enjoyment or rating, the packaging is a disappointment. I don’t like the plain purple background with the title splashed across it and a dog that doesn’t reference the story. I liked the original vision with the tartan borders and actual items or a scene appropriate to the story. Just saying.

Legends & Mythology The inclusion of myths, legends, and folklore is a fascinating element whether it is just extraneous background, evidence of the underlying theme, or key to the mystery. Green included several myths, real or his version, and description of objects and places adding background, color, and motivation in the drama. Auld Mary’s Tale has a fascinating Romeo & Juliet or Hatfields & McCoys theme with the kidnapped son of a rival clan falling in love with the daughter of his captor. Auld Mary, considered a hero by two, a witch by some, and a traitor by others, aided the two young lovers’ escape which led to her death and later interest in the island on which she lived. The Two Sisters, mountains viewed from Lochdubh, and boulders in the glen between them formed from a battle between a giant and an imprisoned demon is a fascinating tale adding to the ancient mystery of the highlands. Insights into the background and use of a birthing amulet, a midwife’s charm,  was interesting, too. It’s these extra stories, explanations, or descriptions that make a book complete and informative. Brilliant!

Audible Gem! Death of a Traitor is available HERE. The narrator Graeme Malcolm is extremely talented varying his Scottish brogue, cadence, and emotions to portray the various characters and enrich any fan’s experience. Many of the Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery audiobooks are free with an Audible membership. Check it out HERE.

Be a Big M.C. Beaton Fan!

From historical romance to murder mystery penned under various incarnations, the New York Times bestselling author M.C. Beaton is one of my absolute favorites. Her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin series are at the top of my “must read” list, and I am lucky to have also read, or listened, to some of the books in her Edwardian Murder Mystery series starring Lady Rose Summer, the stand-alone mystery The Skeleton in the Closet, and fifteen historical romance series varying in era, status, and romantic complication. Her death in 2019 was a blow to the literary world, but her already vast library of entertaining work lives on, and with R.W. Green, her own choice to take up the pen for her most popular series, brings us fans more to enjoy.

Facebook: M.C. Beaton, Author

Website: M.C. Beaton/ U.S. version

Audible: Hamish Macbeth Murder Mysteries

To enter to win a copy of Death of a Traitor, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "traitor,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 4, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Ooh this sounds intriguing! Thank you for the chance to win. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  2. Would really like to read. M.C. Beaton is a new author to me.

  3. I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

  4. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham

  5. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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