Prolific Scottish author Marion Chesney Gibbons, whose best-known pseudonym was M.C. Beaton, died December 30, the Guardian reported. She was 83. Although she also wrote as Jennie Tremaine, Sarah Chester, Ann Fairfax and Charlotte Ward, “these names were eclipsed by those of two of her fictional creations, Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin.”

Chesney Gibbons wrote more than 160 novels in the romance and historical genres, but major success came with her switch to crime fiction and the introduction in 1985 of her Scottish police hero Macbeth, the Guardian noted. Immensely popular in the U.S. as well, she was vague about the number of titles she had written, putting her impressive total down to “the curse of the Scottish work ethic.”

In a statement, Little, Brown, her publisher commented: “Success came to her later in life but she made up for lost time–since 2011 she had been the most borrowed U.K. adult author in British libraries and her M.C. Beaton titles have sold in excess of 21 million copies worldwide. However, she hated being referred to as a ‘cozy’ writer, saying that if anyone called her books cozy she’d give them a Glasgow Kiss. She always saw herself more as an entertainer than author.”

Beaton’s editor Krystyna Green observed: “I’m going to miss her dreadfully as after 23 years I’d grown from being in awe of her, to thinking she was absolutely wonderful–and very kind under her rather fierce exterior. She was forthright and uncompromising and never afraid to express a view, no matter how unfashionable. She was funny, wise, and truly an inspiring, utterly unique individual. This is just such a sad end to the year.”

Crime authors paid tribute to Beaton. Val McDermid remembered her “generous and wicked sense of humor and her intention was to enjoy life to the full for as long as she had it.” And Stuart McBride, a close friend of Beaton, told the Guardian: “Marion will be missed, not just by her friends and family, but by the millions of people who loved her writing. It didn’t matter if she was writing Hamish Macbeth, Agatha Raisin, or her regency romances, every one of her books was filled with warmth and humour and a deviously satirical eye. And that wasn’t authorial artifice, it’s what Marion was like in real life too. She was a force of nature, a great writer, witty, generous, and one of the nicest persons it’s ever been my privilege to know.”



snowflakes of peace susan

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