Wednesday, August 9, 2017

For Your Reading Pleasure 8/9/17

Before recommending a series, I like to have read at least its first three books. If there isn't anything too offensive within the first three books, I can have hope the rest of the series will be likewise.

But today I'm sharing after having only read the first book in a series of 27 or 28 books so far: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M C Beaton.

First, however, you might have noticed I usually am reading older books. And mostly, I'm sure, I will continue to do that for the rest of my reading days. I simply have too much catching up to do when it comes to books. My lists of reading possibilities are very lengthy, so I must keep my nose to the grindstone! In fact, sometimes I get too enthusiastic and borrow too many books from the library. That's the way it's been going this summer: It seems every few days I've put another book on hold, along with checking out other library books.

Back to our heroine, Agatha Raisin. She is the protagonist in this series of cozy mysteries. The first book came out in 1992, and Beaton is still writing them. Agatha is 53 (plain and stocky), and takes early retirement by selling her small but successful PR firm and moving into a cottage in the Cotswolds. Having been a ruthless career woman, Agatha has never learned to cook, never done her own decor, and doesn't do her own housecleaning.

The villagers aren't overly welcoming, and she soon learns that as an "incomer," one is forever an incomer. But in her "get things done" fashion, she enters a quiche-baking contest, hoping to win and to win friends. Naturally, things do not go as planned.

I read the first chapter of the book the day I picked it up, and loved it, even though there was the inevitable use of the occasional swear word. But then I wanted to finish another book or two, so a few days later, when I came back to this book I was disappointed in the next chapters.

What?! The writing seemed terse, with short, "clippy" sentences. There was a glaring error with a major character's name, a timing error, and typos. It ran through my mind not to finish it. (This edition, shown above, needed better editing, but perhaps newer editions have improved.)

But the next night, my mood must have been better because I once again was enjoying the book. Beaton, a pen name for Marion Chesney (which is a pen name for Marion McChesney) does write in rather short, choppy sentences, and I reminded myself she wrote that way in the seven Regency Romances of hers I've read. In all, I believe since 1979(?), Beaton/Chesney has written almost 150 books!

But here's what I liked: The story moves fast. Something new is always happening almost from page to page, which as I got farther into the book, really held my interest. I also liked the fact that the series revolves around the character of Agatha Raisin. (I liked Chesney's Travelling Matchmaker series for Hannah Pym; but after reading the first Six Sisters book, I knew I didn't care about each of the other sisters and their separate stories.)

The clincher: I was sorry when the book ended. Fortunately, my own local library has the next in the series, so I will pick up The Vicious Vet soon.

Have you read this series? Or any others by the same author?

Blessings for a well-read week!
PS: I am an Amazon Associate. Thank you so much for looking at these books (and you can always check with your local library). If you do enter Amazon and buy anything at all via one of my links, it costs you nothing extra and gives me a little credit for buying books for myself. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


  1. I've read most of the Agatha Raisin books and thought them worth reading. I have also read her Hamish MacBeth series and my husband & I love them. Both series are quirky, sometimes funny, are quick reads, and enjoyable and perfect for reading on a lazy day, but Hamish is our favorite.

    Thank-you for the review !

    1. I will have to try Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series, too, Kathy. I think our library has several of those, but I never knew it until recently. It is amazing the number of authors/series that sound interesting that I've just been coming across this past year or so. Thanks for your comment and have a great weekend! Bess


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