After finishing It at the beginning of the month I had a bit of book hangover, the world built by King was fascinating and has been my home for two full weeks, so I needed something to clean my palate before next ‘serious’ book. As I’m also trying to clean up my Kindle a bit I took a look in my ‘fiction crime’ folder and came across Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, the title seemed suitable ridiculous to warrant a quick and light, if not overly intellectual, read.
Agatha Raisin was a busy owner of a PR company, we meet her when she decides to retire, finally having acquired the cottage in Cotswolds she dreamed of and selling her company she is ready to move. Instantly she is shocked by the slow pace of country life, as well as the difficulty she has to fit in. The locals are not as open as she initially thought and she struggles to break through the superficial niceties and make an impression. Finally in order to secure her place in the small community she decides to take part in the local quiche contest. The fact that she cannot cook at all and lives on microwave meals does not discourage her, as she plans to buy the quiche in London and present it as hers, certain she’ll win. Not only does she loose (I don’t think this is much of a spoiler) but also the judge of the contest dies of poisoning, apparently because of Agatha’s quiche (again no spoiler here, it is all in the title). Police initially thinks Agatha is a suspect, but when she admits to having bought the quiche the suspicions go away. Agatha, afraid of being tainted with bad reputation forever starts investigating on her own, trying to identify the murderer. The more involved she is the more dangerous things happen to her, but the more engaged she is in the life of her small community. The rest is pretty predictable.
Let’s be honest it is not the best mystery I’ve read, but it is decently written, has the nice countryside setting I like as a fan of Midsomer Murders and even managed to pull off a believable personality change in the main character. I liked how Agatha struggled to adapt to country side life, but also how more and more distant and foreign London was becoming. Another interesting aspect was how a busy person with active career handles retirement, it is never what we expect.
Because the writing style seemed familiar to me I took a look at what else M. C. Beaton has written and I must tell you it was a lot, somewhere in the vicinity of 150 books, and I was right it was familiar, I’ve read a few Hamish Macbeth books few years ago. 150 books, can you imagine? She is 81 now, so it gives us 2 books a year, if we assume she started publishing when she was five years old (which she didn’t), this is called loving your job. I definitely will not attempt to read all her books, but may keep few on my Kindle, just in case I need something lighter, but decent, just like I always have a few books by David Baldacci for exactly the same purpose.
What authors do you turn to when you need light entertainment?