Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton

imagePutting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry–but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…

Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe…

For the high summer read-a-thon, I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and regular reading patterns and read my first ever cozy mystery.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while as, when I see them on other blogs, they always sound like fun and – most times – the titles alone make me smile.  Both were the case for the Quiche of Death, which was a fun book, though with plenty of twists and turns worthy of Agatha Christie too.

There were a whole host of quirky characters, all slightly stereotypical but not in a mean way, who inhabit the village of Carsley and who eye incomer Agatha with suspicion, no more so than when they discover she didn’t cook her own quiche. At the same time they seem to accept each others quirks without so much as a second thought, including cheating (jam making this time), philandering and bingo. I enjoyed learning about each of them and thought that, for sometimes minor characters, they were all well drawn and engaging.

Agatha is a little harder to like, at least until I understood how much came from insecurity rather than superiority, and M. C. Beaton did a good job changing my mind from the start to the finish of the book.  I got that this was Agatha’s life long dream and how disappointed she must have felt when reality didn’t quite live up to expectations.

However, there is a reason I rarely read books where I have seen the film or TV first and this is a perfect example.  I chose this book because I wasn’t sure where else to start on my cozy adventures and I have been watching and enjoying the TV show.  The Agatha of the show though, played by Ashley Jenson, and all of the other major characters are different to the book.

Agatha is dark haired and “solid” in the book, whilst in the show she is blond and stylish; her cleaner is older and wiser in the book; Bill the police office chubbier in the book and Roy, her best friend, a lot more personable in the show.  They seem more of a gang than they are in the book, which I like – a bit like a grown up famous five. Even the pub has a different name.  I couldn’t help comparing and the TV show probably came out on top for me because I was already attached to that version of the characters.

That said, I did enjoy the Quiche of Death and would recommend it to others, perhaps others who had not seen the show.  It is funny and clever but also a lighter read, perfect for these hot summer days.  Enjoy!

Emma

Halloween Hero

With Halloween just around the corner, ghosts, ghouls, and other spooky things are very much on my mind, especially as it means I now only have one week to come up with a costumes for me, my husband, and my daughter. It’s also on the mind of Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, who posted this question for his weekly Blog Hop…

You accidentally unleashed ghouls from a novel and they are now running amok. What fictional hero (book or film) would you like to help you defeat the ghouls?

I didn’t have to give this one much thought. It would be Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer, because I don’t think there is a creature of the night (or day) she hasn’t defeated.  In my ideal world, we’d fight Bram Stoker’s Dracula, one of my favourite novels and ultimate scary character but any big bad would do.

buffy-the-vampire-slayer

Why Buffy? Because I love that she is a strong female character and think she is a real role model for younger girls. I never get tired of re-watching the shows (yes, I’m a geek).  Plus she looks good whilst fighting evil and is funny with it.  I mean, at the end of the day, what’s the point of saving the world if you can’t laugh about it…

I was kind of unsure about where the party was.  And then I saw the flashing red lights and the ambulance, an it’s like, oh right, of course. Carnage. Death. It’s a Buffy party.

If you’d like to see who Billy, or other bloggers, have chosen for their hero, hop on over by clicking on the link below.

Book Blogger Hop