mandag den 4. oktober 2010

M.C. Beaton, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (1992)

This British cosy mystery is far from the writer´s debut, but it is the first in the Agatha Raisin series.

Agatha Raisin chooses early retirement and fulfils her dream, a cottage in a Cotswold village, only to realize that she has no friends and nothing to do with all her time. On the surface, the villagers seem kind and open, but as anybody but Agatha knows, it takes a generation to be accepted in a village. And with so much time on her hands, she begins to discover that her social skills are not very well developed.

In order to find a social circle, she decides to try for the local quiche competition but the result is not quite what she had bargained for. She cheats by buying a professionally made quiche, and when the judge dies after having eaten it, she feels she has to solve the crime to escape the cloud of suspicion.

The plot moves a bit back and forth but is okay, I suppose. The strong points of the novel are the village setting and the character Agatha Raisin who seems to have embarked on a journey, getting to know herself and to try to dig out some positive sides to her character.

Will I buy and read the next twenty Agatha Raisin stories? Well, perhaps not, but I might buy one now and then to get into cosy mystery mood as I don´t think it is a good idea to write a subgenre without reading books of the same kind occasionally.

24 kommentarer:

Kerrie sagde ...

Dorte, have you read any of Simon Brett's Fethering series? You might find Carole Seaton, retired public servant, an interesting comparison with Agatha Raisin

Bibliophile sagde ...

I didn't like the tone of the first Agatha Raisin book I tried to read and I have never tried another, but I like Beaton's Hamish MacBeth books.

....Petty Witter sagde ...

My idea of good quiche making - cheat and buy one. I know the ma-in-law loves these books, one day I will get around to reading them.

Margot Kinberg sagde ...

Dorte - Thanks for this review. I really like the Cotswold setting of the Agatha Raisin series, too. But I confess, I like the Hamish Macbeth novels better. Still, I think you are very wise to read a lot in the subgenre you are writing it.

Linda sagde ...

Thanks for the review, Dorte. I feel in need of a 'cosy' read again, so I'm off to the library to see what I can find!

BookPlease sagde ...

I've only read one Agatha Raisin book and am quite happy for it remain the only one I'll read. But unlike Bibliophile I didn't like the only Hamish MacBeth book I've read.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams sagde ...

Hamish MacBeth is my favorite series of hers. :) I do like the Agathas, too, but her later ones are a little better.

Care sagde ...

This book must be comic, yes? It does take a generation to accepted anywhere, village or whatever.

C. N. Nevets sagde ...

I find the Agatha Raisin stories entertaining as audio books on car rides. Quite a bit so, in fact. But I can never bring myself to read them in print. Too plodding and digressionary.

Clarissa Draper sagde ...

Oh boy! I have so many books on my to-read list... I like these little cozies.

CD

Dorte H sagde ...

Kerrie: not yet; I´ll add him to the list.
Bibliophile: I can see she rubs some readers up the wrong way. Funny, because while I thought the plot was a bit wishy-washy, I thought Agatha Raisin was fun.
Tracy: I also thought the quiche cheating was fun - probably because I don´t bake either.

Dorte H sagde ...

Margot: I have only read one Agatha Raisin and one Hamish Macbeth so far, but as you say, it´s probably useful for me to have a varied cosy diet.
Linda: they are fine for a day when you are too tired to digest something heavier :D
Margaret: well, when I am in the mood for cosies, I tend to like this type, but I couldn´t survive on cosies only.

Dorte H sagde ...

Elizabeth: I have a Hamish Macbeth on my shelf and plan to read it before long.
Care: yes, it is quite humorous. I can understand that many readers loathe Agatha Raisin, but what I liked about her - at least in this book - is that she *knows* she is a pain.
Nevet: digressionary is the perfect word for it! On a bad day I can´t concentrate on a plot anyway so I may keep some of them in reserve as last-resort-reads ;D

Kelly sagde ...

It sounds fun, but I'm not about to start on yet another series with that many titles!!

What a horrible punishment for cheating in the quiche competition (to kill the judge!!)! Ha!

Dorte H sagde ...

Clarissa: it was good, but not what I would call a must-read.

Kelly: let that be a lesson! Well, as YOU do cook, you´ll hardly need it ;D

Mason Canyon sagde ...

Enjoyed your review. This sounds interesting. Love the cover. I'll have to add this to me 'wish list.'

Mason

Thoughts in Progress

Kerrie sagde ...

Dorte, there is an award for you on my blog

Dorte H sagde ...

Mason: I cheated with the cover because my own was so ugly - but don´t tell anyone!

Kerrie: oh, thank you! I´ll post about it in the weekend - for once I have a few posts ready for the next days.

Belle sagde ...

I've really enjoyed the Hamish Macbeth mysteries in audio, but haven't gotten into the Agatha Raisin series yet. I do have one of them in audio, but I've been thinking I might opt for one of the short stories or novella collections (or at least, I think that's what they are - my library carries them, three titles per audiobook volume). I'm not sure I'll like Agatha Raisin as much as I like Hamish, though!

Fiona sagde ...

I read the first half dozen, becoming more and more tired of them, so have decided that there are many better cosy crimes to enjoy! I won't waste my time on Agatha any more.

Dorte H sagde ...

Belle: it is interesting to see that people feel so differently about Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin.

Fiona: I have certainly found a controversial protagonist this time. I almost feel like trying a few more to see how she develops.

bookwitch sagde ...

Don't waste any more time!

http://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/raisin-the-standard/

Beth F sagde ...

I've read a few of the Agatha Raisin books. SOmetimes I just want to shake some sense into her! Not my favorite series, but I do come back to her a couple of times a year.

I *LOVE* Hamish Macbeth -- what can I say. Light and total escape.

I do like the Simon Brett Feathering mysteries too.

Dorte H sagde ...

Beth: it is interesting that one writer can write two series which are perceived so differently.