See my ‘Tiels, Roosevelt and Pearl, on the top shelf? They’re shredding books I hate. Instead of throwing them into the recycle bin, I give literary dreck their proper reward. It’s a lot cheaper than the parrot toys you buy at stores.
I discovered M.C. Beaton when Josh and I were painting our house to sell. You may not know this or even agree, but I discovered that painting walls is interminably boring. I had never been one for audiobooks, but my husband suggested I take advantage of our library’s electronic library to help the time go faster.
After some trial and error, I stumbled across the mysteries of M.C. Beaton. Beaton was a Scottish writer who died in 2018. She had to grow on me, but soon I listened to most of her Agatha Raisin mysteries and also her Hamish MacBeth series.
Agatha Raisin is a woman in her fifties who left a posh job in London in advertising to live a quiet life in the Cotswolds. She soon finds herself embroiled in murders in her own neighborhood, working conjointly with the police and ultimately decides to run her own private detective agency.
Her rough background growing up on the wrong side of the tracks in the northern industrial town Birmingham, is something she is desperate to hide. She loses her tough street accent, and acquires an upper class London one. She is also a horrible snob, but cannot hide her tough background when she gets angry, which is often. She is no delicate flower and her salty vocabulary and acerbic wit show it.
Before getting into the actual story line, I’ll say that what sells Beaton’s books (and makes painting walls ever so much more bearable) is the caustic, yet sharp, witty banter that flows between the characters. If you don’t care for the mysteries, which I do, I think they’re well developed, you can at least enjoy the dialogue.
And, of course, with any series, you develop a sort of attachment to the characters.
A couple of women have narrated the audio books, but my favorite is Penelope Leach. She has the perfect voice for not only Agatha, but for all, even the male characters.
So, the review:
There’s a murder (duh). It’s a teenage girl. Her body’s been dumped in a wooded area. Who is she, why was she murdered etc…as Agatha Raisin is attempting to uncover this mystery, someone else is murdered. It turns out that the two might be related, but how?
Then yet another murder. This time someone who was suspected of murdering the teenage girl.
As the story unfolds, all the answers get answered bit by bit, until all the pieces are put together. The ending is logical, but not predictable.
What I liked about this particular story is that Agatha is no longer the lone wolf or the wolf with a couple of sidekicks. Now she has an entire team investigating:
Harry, a young college bound man who is taking a gap year and needs something to occupy himself. He’s scruffy looking with wild hair and piercings everywhere, but turns out to be a deft investigator.
The same is true for Phil, a 76 year old man, living alone, never married, needs money and is a good photographer. Agatha hires him because the vicar’s wife, Mrs. Bloxby has guilted her into it. Phil ends up being of far greater value to her than she imagined.
Patrick is an ex-policeman, tough, enigmatic, working in the background, but gets a lot of valuable information behind the scenes.
Because the story bounced back and forth between the above characters as well as their relationship with Agatha, add the regulars, Sir Charles, Agatha’s titled friend, with whom she has a love/hate relationship with, and Roy Silvers, a former employee from London, and you get not only an interesting plot, but also engaging, interesting characters that only add flavor to the
A couple of my latest sent postcards:
Oops! That’s not a postcard. That’s Puddle saying “Toodles until next time.”