M.C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and the Blood of an Englishman

"The Agatha Raisin books are light and fluffy like a Mary Berry sponge..."


Persuaded by Mrs Bloxby, the vicar's wife, Agatha Raisin once again finds herself dragged in to doing something 'worthwhile'. This time it is the local pantomime which appears to be an excruciating mish-mash of every pantomime ever written. Finally the curtain goes down but Bert the baker who played the ogre doesn't take the curtain call. It soon comes to light that when Bert made his exit down the stage trapdoor he met with a very grisly end indeed. As per usual Agatha is soon on the case and sniffing suspects like a bloodhound.

However, results are slow to obtain and it is many months and a number of deaths later that Agatha finds herself (as usual) in the firing line and the object of a mass murderer's rage. Has she found her match and will this be the time she finally gets the chop?

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With an Agatha Raisin book it does what it says on the tin. There is no way you can take Beaton's books sensibly and I am sure that is how the author expects them to be approached. The Agatha Raisin books are light and fluffy like a Mary Berry sponge (no soggy bottom here, thankfully!). You get the feeling that Beaton has her tongue firmly wedged in her cheek when writing Agatha's new adventure. We are sent down a tried and tested route. Someone gets killed and Agatha soon after bumbles about asking people outright if they are the killer and simply by being a nuisance becomes a target herself. Agatha always has a penchant for a good looking man and here appears to fall in love at an alarming rate. James makes a couple of brief appearances but for the main he is abroad. Thankfully everyone's favourite cad, Sir Charles Fraith takes centre stage and supplies the majority of the laughs. Despite the pantomime setting I did not get a single whiff of Christmas spirit and soon we are many months down the line with Agatha in peril. You can't help rolling your eyes at Agatha's escapades, the woman is a nightmare but for all her brusqueness, you can't stop worrying about her. She is a bit like a mad maiden aunt (although Agatha would hate such a horrific label). This is an improvement on the last book; much more entertaining and light-hearted. A return to form for Beaton and a treat for her legion of fans.

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