M. C. Beaton: Biography

M. C. Beaton

16 jun 1936

M. C. Beaton is one of the pseudonyms of the prolific Scottish writer Marion McChesney. She was born in Glasgow in 1936. Her first job once she left school was as a bookseller for John Smith & Sons Ltd. She received a chance offer to review a few local shows, and almost by accident became a theatre critic for the Scottish Daily Mail. This was just the beginning of her career in journalism as she went on to work for Scottish Field Magazine, the Scottish Daily Express and then the Daily Express.

Marion moved to the USA after she married her husband Harry Scott Gibbons. She got a job as a waitress in a restaurant before they were both offered positions writing for The Star in New York. By this time, Marion had a small son, Charles, and was anxious to spend more time at home with him. Fully supported by her husband, she began to write romance novels set in the Regency period. She was extremely prolific and wrote nearly 100 stories set in this time.

McChesney tired of writing romances and so decided to try her hand at detective fiction. A fishing course she attended whilst she was on holiday in Sutherland was all the inspiration she needed for her first Hamish Macbeth story, which she published under the pseudonym M. C. Beaton. When her son Charles graduated, McChesney and her husband moved to the Cotswolds, the landscape which served as the setting for her famous Agatha Raisin novels. The first Agatha Raisin novel, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, was published in 1992, but has enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity. A series of dramatisations of the Agatha Raisin stories on BBC Radio 4 and a TV film and subsequent television series on Sky 1 starring Ashley Jensen as Agatha have revitalised the original stories by M.C.Beaton.