Sunday, January 22, 2017

REVIEW: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death

Agatha Raisin and The Quiche of Death
Author: M.C. Beaton

In this first book in the Agatha Raisin series, Agatha has just taken early retirement, buying a cottage in the Cotswalds. She is used to the hustle and bustle of the advertising world in London. Village life seems alien to her, so she tries to fit in. She joins a baking competition, entering a quiche she purchased from a shop in London, attempting to pass it off as her own. When Contest Judge Mr. Cummings-Browne drops dead after eating her quiche,  Agatha is not only a murder suspect but also a known cheater (at baking contests anyway). She feels her chances of fitting into village life might be completely ruined. Not willing to give up, Agatha decides to do a bit of investigating to find out who might have poisoned stuffy old Cummings-Browne.

I listened to the audio book version of this book. I don't usually like audio books. Listening in fits and starts while I'm driving or not busy just hasn't ever appealed to me. I think maybe it's because I get distracted and have to backup to listen to sections again, and the fact that I have partial hearing loss. Some narrators are just too hard for me to hear and understand properly.

This time, the audio version was my only choice. My local library consortium didn't have the actual book, but offered the audio online. If I wanted to enjoy the first Agatha Raisin book I was going to have to listen to it.  With a momentary feeling of disappointment, I decided to give it a whirl, I'm glad I did!! I listened in the car when I was by myself, and put my headphones on at home so I could easily hear the narrator. I very much enjoyed the audio book version! Penelope Keith did a great job as narrator. I liked her voice and she was easily understood, even with my hearing problem. To combat my tendency to get distracted, I listened only when I was alone and could concentrate on the story. It made my time in the school car line much more entertaining! I also got in a few minutes of listening time while doing the dishes, folding laundry and little tasks like that. I still had to back the story up a few times, but not nearly as often as before.

As for the story, I am a huge fan of M.C. Beaton's Hamish MacBeth series. Agatha Raisin is a completely different sort of character, but I also enjoyed this book. Agatha was a bit rough in the beginning, acting a bit snobbish and having a tendency to be rude and thoughtless. But, over time, she softened up a bit and made friends in the village. The character grew on me as the story progressed. I think I will definitely enjoy reading the rest of this series!

There are 27 books in the Agatha Raisin series, with the 28th, Agatha Raisin and the Witch's Tree, due out in 2017. I'm not sure if I will read all 28 books....but I'm definitely going to read more in this series! I will also be trying more audio books. I think I can work around my hearing loss for the most part, and it's a way to enjoy a book while driving or doing housework. :)

The BBC has made an Agatha Raisin television series. In the US, it airs on PBS and it's also available on Acorn TV (that's where I'm going to watch). I have heard good reviews of the show, with the usual comments on how it does differ from the books. Agatha is younger in the television show (What is wrong with having a female character in her 50s?? I don't understand why she had to be younger. I hope they don't re-do Miss Marple....she will end up 35 with a slinky figure.), and I was told some plot points and characters were changed for the TV version.  I'm going to watch the first episode...which is Quiche of Death, of course....and see what I think of it! :) I will watch the rest once I've read more of the books. :)

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