Agatha Raisin By M.C. Beaton
I often use a mystery novel to “cleanse the palate” between reading more serious literature. Consequently, I read quite a few mysteries. I will choose a Donna Leon if I want to go to Venice, or a Michael McGarrity or Tony Hillerman if I want to go to New Mexico. But when I just want to be cheered up I pick up an Agatha Raisin. Oh Agatha, you do brighten up a dim day. These mysteries are what’s called “cozy’s.” They are murder mysteries served with tea and scones. They are funnier than they are scary. They are as light as a cream puff, just as sweet, but no calories!
They are not always terribly well-written, certainly this author varies, but they are still sometimes just what you need if you are feeling blue.
I will save a new Agatha for just the right day–when I need a little silliness and a reminder that one day may be a downer but the next is usually bright.
The newest in the series is the Deadly Dance. Agatha has been solving murders in her little village for some time now and has decided that she should open her own detective agency and make some money from her activities. We know she doesn’t need the money but she does need to be the boss. And since she is between lovers at the moment, it is a distraction.
As always, the supporting cast, including the ever faithful vicar’s wife and the dashing Sir Charles, and the petulant but ever eager Roy, keep us hopping along with our Agatha from one murder to the next. I don’t think there is ever just one murder in an Agatha.
The detective agency seems to be an instant success, but for one nagging murder, of a groom on his wedding day, some about-to-be in-laws might desire the death of the groom. But most would only grumble.
The twists and turns of this case has Agatha fearing for her life–not that she is scared–or at least not for long. She outwits the dastardly villain in the end and we know she is careening off toward another adventure that M.C. Beaton will present to us before too long at all.