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Marion Chesney was a Scottish writer of romance and mystery novels, including the Agatha Raisin book series.

Marion wrote under numerous pseudonyms but her most successful was M.C. Beaton. The author of 160 books, she was a prolific and esteemed writer having sold more than 21 million copies worldwide. Marion is the most borrowed author from British Libraries. Both of her serial titles Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin were New York Times bestsellers.

Early Life

M.C. Beaton was born in Glasgow, Scotland.

Career

Marion Chesney is known primarily for the more than 100 historical romance novels she has published under her own name and under several pseudonyms: Helen Crampton, Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, and Charlotte Ward. But with the creation of Constable Hamish Macbeth in 1985, she shifted from romances to writing the mystery novels that she is best known for writing under the pseudonym M.C. Beaton.

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 17 languages and her AGATHA RAISIN mysteries have been made into an Acorn/Sky TV series starring Ashley Jensen. M. C. Beaton is consistently the most borrowed UK adult author in British libraries.

She started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department at John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she received an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to become their theatre critic. She 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. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express 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 in Alexandria 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, supported by her husband, started to write Regency romances. After she had written close to 100, and had gotten fed up with the 1811 to 1820 period, she began to write detective stories under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Hamish Macbeth story. Marion and Harry returned to Britain and bought a croft house in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. When her son graduated, and both of his parents tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds, where Agatha Raisin was created.

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