Agatha Raisin #1

Title: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin #1)

Author: M. C. Beaton

First published: December 1992

Category: Mystery

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Purchase: Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository

Putting 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.

Agatha Raisin is quite a character. In The Quiche of Death, the first in the series, she moves from London to the quiet town, lovely town of Carsely, but of course she doesn’t quite fit in. Like so many small towns, this one definitely differentiates the newcomers from those who have lived there their whole lives. But Agatha is determined to be somebody in the town, leading to the whole situation described above- her quiche killing one of the judges at the town fair. The police say it’s an accident, but Agatha thinks it must have been murder and as she is the one put in the worst light but the incident, she’s determined to prove who the actual murderer was. And I can’t blame her, she wants to be liked not suspecting of killing people. She’s not a particularly nice woman, used to the rat race of London she finds it hard to settle into life in the country. She’s bored and friendless and it’s tough for her. She uses her skills to help the lady’s society, but it’s definitely self-serving, to ingratiate herself to the town. I think there’s a lot of room for growth as she comes to know herself apart from her career.

Carsley is a wonderful small town. And I loved some of the site-seeing Agatha does when Roy, her former employee, comes down for a visit. The secondary characters, Roy and the villagers, add a lot to the story. Some are kind, some nasty, all are human. That’s one of the reasons I like mysteries set in small towns, it’s like you take all these personalities, some over the top, make them live next to each other and see what happens next.

The mystery is okay, not outstanding. I had a pretty good guess who the killer was and even how they did it. But watching Agatha figuring it out and navigating her way through this small town jumble kept me interested.

I listened to this one on audio. It was a light mystery and I enjoyed it, but it was almost too light to listen to. I found my mind drifting at times. I’ll probably listen to more of the series if my library has them on audio, but I’m not sure if I’ll go out of my way to find them.

Challenge: WAYR

Agatha Raisin Series

  1. Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death
  2. Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet
  3. Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener
  4. Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley
  5. Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage
  6. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist
  7. Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death
  8. Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham
  9. Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden
  10. Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam
  11. Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell
  12. Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came
  13. Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate
  14. Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House
  15. Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance
  16. Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon
  17. Love, Lies and Liquor
  18. Kissing Christmas Goodbye
  19. Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison
  20. There Goes the Bride
  21. Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body
  22. As the Pig Turns
  23. Hiss and Hers