Saturday, February 09, 2013

The mystery of crime writer MC Beaton

Jake Kerridge profiles MC Beaton, the crime writer who's the third most borrowed adult author in Britain.

Crime writer MC Beaton
Crime writer MC Beaton 

At first glance, there are not many surprises in the newly released list of the most borrowed authors in UK libraries in 2011-12. The products that come off the James Patterson conveyor belt still retain their unfathomable popularity, putting him in the number one slot, while the tear-jerking romance writer Nora Roberts is number two.
But in this who’s who of authors, there comes a who’s that? moment for many people when they reach the third name on the list: MC Beaton.
We don’t see Beaton having chin-stroking conversations with Alan Yentob on television à la Ian Rankin (17 places below her) because her detective stories are light and amusing. She writes two series, one featuring the laid-back policeman Hamish Macbeth, the other set in the Cotswolds and starring Agatha Raisin, a retired PR queen turned amateur sleuth.
Ms Beaton, whose real name is Marion Chesney, is a small, elegant 76-year-old Glaswegian with a waspish sense of humour. She worked for many years as a journalist, in the days when she and her colleagues would blithely listen in to the stolen police radios they kept on their desks.
She once told me that she turned to writing crime in the Eighties because the sort of books she wanted to read weren’t being written: “There was nothing in between Mills & Boon and Booker books. No books for a bad time on a wet day.” Having produced more than 100 Regency romances under various pseudonyms, she had no trouble in turning out crime novels at high speed.
Full article at The Telegraph

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