|First appearance||Death of a Gossip|
|Created by||M. C. Beaton|
|Portrayed by||Robert Carlyle|
Hamish Macbeth is the lackadaisical police constable of the fictional Scottish Highland town of Lochdubh, in a series of murder mystery novels created by M. C. Beaton (Marion Chesney).
Considered by many to be a useless, lazy moocher, Macbeth is very well informed about his community's activities and often overlooks minor transgressions in the interests of the public weal. In time it emerges that, following Highland tradition as the eldest child, he remains single because he is supporting his crofter parents and six much younger siblings by sending them most of his salary, and finding various ways to supplementing his income. Having created a niche for himself in the community and on the police force, he uses his intelligence and skills to solve murders cases - while avoiding and evading all efforts to transfer, promote and/or fire him out of it.
There were 33 novels, 1 novella and 1 short story published in the UK by Constable & Robinson before the author's death in 2019. A subsequent novel and a short story, begun as collaborative works with the original author and finished after her death by R. W. Green were published in 2022.
Hamish Macbeth is the eldest of seven siblings and has three brothers and three sisters. His parents are crofters and as the eldest son, Hamish is expected to contribute to his family's income. He lives in Lochdubh's police station and keeps some sheep and chickens and grows some vegetables. He is occasionally guilty of poaching a salmon, sometimes for himself, but often as a gift or bribe for others.
Hamish has a reputation for laziness. He loves the town of Lochdubh (meaning 'black lake' (loch) in Gaelic and pronounced Lokh-DOO) and is content and at peace with his life and lacks ambition. Of great concern to Hamish and his fellow villagers is the threat of possible closure of Lochdubh's police station,   something his superior and archenemy, Chief Inspector Blair, would like to see. Hamish avoids promotion, occasionally even deliberately destroying attempts to give him recognition for his accomplishments. His position as "local bobby," sees him sometimes left out of official investigations and he must often work outside official channels, as the detectives from neighbouring Strathbane CID do not appreciate his help. Despite this, it is Hamish's natural "Highland curiosity" and local knowledge and intuition that combine to solve crimes.
Early in the series, Hamish has an on-again, off-again romance with Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, the daughter of a wealthy local landowner. The romance ultimately ends in a broken engagement because of her sexual coldness; thereafter, his luck with women, including Elspeth Grant, a reporter with whom he has a relationship, continues to be poor. Hamish is very attached to his pets, first his dog Towser, then in later books his dog Lugs (Scots for "ears") and a "domesticated" wildcat named Sonsie (Scots for "cheeky").
Hamish is tall and thin. He has hazel eyes and long eyelashes and fiery red hair.
The fictional village of Lochdubh is set in the real county of Sutherland. Although Lochdubh and the neighbouring town of Strathbane are fictional places, the series refers to real Scottish towns such as Dornoch, Dingwall and Inverness.
In an interview, the author recalls,
"I was at a fishing school in Sutherland in the very north of Scotland, and I thought, what a wonderful setting for a classical detective story, 11 people isolated in this Highland wilderness. So Hamish Macbeth was born." 
The Hamish Macbeth books were adapted into the BBC Scotland television series Hamish Macbeth. Running for three series between 1995 and 1997, the titular police officer was played by Robert Carlyle. The first and second series comprised six episodes and the third had an additional two-part series finale to make eight episodes. The series bore little relation to the content of Beaton's novels. Macbeth and Lochdubh were retained, in name at least, but little else survived.
The author was not happy with the TV series. "It wasn't like the books, I wrote about a six-foot laid-back highlander and I got a 5ft 8" Glaswegian with a chip on his shoulder," Beaton says. "It was an unfortunate experience."
The TV adaptations took several liberties with the plots, combining elements from several novels into each episode, changing the details enough to make them work together.
While Beaton was not happy with the changes, the TV series developed a loyal fan base, and many viewers have since come to know the Hamish Macbeth that Beaton originally created. Her earlier novels are being reprinted and re-released to fill the gaps between new volumes.
Beaton has often been left out of plans for her own creations. "They wanted to do a making of Hamish Macbeth without even mentioning me at all," Beaton joked. "However, it does lead to ideas to killing people." 
In 2016, another Beaton creation, Agatha Raisin, also became a TV series.
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Hamish Macbeth is a Scottish mystery comedy-drama television series produced by BBC Scotland that aired from 26 March 1995 to 4 May 1997. It is loosely based on a series of mystery novels by M. C. Beaton. The series concerns a local police officer, Constable Hamish Macbeth, in the fictitious town of Lochdubh on the west coast of Scotland. The title character was played by Robert Carlyle. It consisted of three series, with the first two series containing six episodes and the third containing eight.
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Death of an Outsider is the third mystery novel in the Hamish Macbeth series by Marion Chesney under her pseudonym M. C. Beaton. It was first published in 1988.
Death of a Gentle Lady is the twenty-fourth mystery novel in the Hamish Macbeth series by M. C. Beaton. It was first published in 2008.
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Death of a Macho Man is a mystery novel by M. C. Beaton, first published in 1996. It is set in the fictional town of Lochdubh, Scotland featuring the local constable Hamish Macbeth.
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