Celebrating M.C. Beaton on her Birth Anniversary
By Crime HQJune 10, 2023
M.C. Beaton is the internationally bestselling author of both the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series, as well as numerous Regency romances. Her books have been translated into 19 languages and her Agatha Raisin mysteries have been made into TV series on Acorn TV and Sky starring Ashley Jensen. M. C. Beaton is consistently the most borrowed UK adult author in British libraries. Her books have sold over 22 million copies worldwide.
Here is M.C. Beaton discussing Agatha Raisin, the UK series based on her books:
M.C. Beaton was born Marion Chesney in Glasgow, Scotland. She started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department at John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, she received an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to become their theatre critic. She later left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing experience, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. Marion then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to the Daily Express in London’s Fleet Street, where she became chief woman reporter.
After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion moved to the United States where Harry had been offered the position of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. They subsequently moved to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs at Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York. Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion started to write Regency romance novels with the support of her husband. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Hamish Macbeth mystery. Marion began to write detective novels in earnest under the M. C. Beaton pseudonym. She and Harry returned to Scotland before later moving to the Cotswolds, where Marion created the Agatha Raisin character.
Marion wrote nearly 100 historical romances under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, as well as several pseudonyms including Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward. Because of her great success with mysteries as M. C. Beaton, most of her publishers both in the U.S. and abroad use the M. C. Beaton pseudonym for all of her novels.
New novels in the beloved Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series continue to be released each year in the US and the UK, co-written by M. C. Beaton’s longtime collaborator and personal friend R. W. Green.