M.C. Beaton has become famous for her gripping mysteries, quirky humour and beloved characters, including the hilarious Agatha Raisin and Scottish bobby Hamish Macbeth. But how much do you know about the fascinating life of the writer behind the books? Here are ten interesting facts about this cosy crime queen - including an insight into her favourite detective story in her own words.
1. M.C. Beaton was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1936 but she has lived in many different places in her life.
She moved to Virginia after her husband was relocated there for work and then moved to New York after both her and her husband secured jobs at The Star newspaper. After this, she lived in Sutherland in the Highlands and now spends her time between the Cotswolds and Paris.
2. She worked as a bookseller, theatre critic, secretary, fashion editor and crime reporter before becoming an author.
She worked for a range of different newspapers and magazines including the Scottish Daily Mail, Scottish Daily Express, Daily Express, Scottish Field magazine and The Star.
3. M.C. Beaton is her pen name.
Her birth name is Marion Chesney but she has also used the pseudonyms Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton and Sarah Chester in her career as well. She uses a different pen name for each different genre she writes in.
4. She has published about 160 books.
She started writing because she couldn't find any authors writing the kind of books she wanted to read and wanted to spend more time at home with her son. Her first book was published in 1979.
5. She wrote nearly 100 novels set in the Regency period before switching to crime fiction.
M.C. Beaton was her pseudonym of choice for her crime fiction and since her work as crime author has become so popular, M.C. Beaton is used as her name on all her novels by some international publishers.
6. Her time as a reporter in Glasgow inspired her crime fiction.
She'd often report on some of the areas with the highest crime rate in Britain so writing crime fiction came quite naturally to her.
7. Although both Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth have been adapted into TV series, she isn't a fan of the BBC's take on Hamish Macbeth.
Her sharp and quick-witted nature has led to her being open about her disdain for the adaptation.
8. She is often in the Top 5 Most Borrowed Authors of the Year list.
In 2013, her books were borrowed over a million times! She was one of only three authors to pass the million mark.
9. Although she hoped to retire to her hometown of Glasgow one day, she thinks this might not be in her future after all.
After leaving the city in 1961, Marion feels that the city has changed too much from the dangerous but cosy city she once knew. She now spends half her time in Paris where her fan club regularly meets in a tea shop called Miss Marple.
10. Her favourite detective story is Murder Must Advertise and Marion very kindly wrote us an explanation as to why:
"My favourite detective story of all time is Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers.
Dorothy Sayers worked as a copywriter in an advertising agency and this book is based on her experiences there. It is a good plot, but what lends the book its charm is the wit and humour as the staff desperately rack their brains for advertising copy, and the staff annual cricket match must the best description of a cricket match in English literature.
Lord Peter Wimsey, her detective, goes undercover to solve a murder.
Storytelling at its very best.
M C Beaton"
We love M.C. Beaton here at Book People and we were thrilled to have her share her favourite detective story with us in honour of our 30th birthday. Whatever types of books you like, Marion has written a book for you so make sure you take a look through her many many books to find your next read.