Friday, December 11, 2009

The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton

The Quiche of Death
by M.C. Beaton
St. Martin's Press
originally published 1992
272 pages


'Tis the season... for a cozy mystery and, thanks to Book Psmith, I have discovered Agatha Raisin. Have you met her? At 53, Agatha has retired early from her public relations firm in London to move to the small village of Carsely.

"She had come a long way from her working-class background in Birmingham. She had survived an unfortunate marriage and had come out of it, divorced and battered in spirit, but determined to succeed in life. All her business efforts were to one end, the realization of a dream - a cottage in the Cotswolds." (page 1)

To Agatha, the Cotswolds "represented everything she wanted in life: beauty, tranquility and security... Even as a child, she had become determined that one day she would live in one of those pretty cottages in a quiet peaceful village, far from the noise and smells of the city."

By the end of the first page, I already like Agatha, I love the setting and, although cozy mysteries are a departure from my usual reading fare, I'm ready to settle in for some fun.

Agatha finds herself slightly bored and lonely despite the idyllic setting. In an effort to meet people and make friends, she enters a local baking contest. The small problem of not being a baker is solved by purchasing a quiche from a London bakery. The quiche doesn't win, and things begin to get complicated when the judge dies after eating a second slice. Of course, Agatha lends the local police agency an unsolicited hand in solving the mystery - risking her own life along the way.

The Quiche of Death has me thinking of adding the occasional cozy mystery to my literary diet . The village characters are delightful and, with twenty titles in the series, there will be plenty of further escapades for this "lovelorn middle-aged detective".

26 comments:

  1. This sounds like a lot of fun! Perfect for the holidays.

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  2. I love cozy mysteries, and all the better if it is a middle-aged lady (I will never feel middle-aged, no matter the facts). Back in an earlier day, when I had a work assignment in London, a colleague/friend of mine and I actually rode bicycles through the Cotswolds once weekend. It was idyllic. We stayed in these people's house that came with a cuddly cat. And we ate at some village restaurant there that was the best meal we had over there.

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  3. Agatha Raisin is one of my favorite mystery characters. Have read almost all of the books in the series and liked them all.

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  4. I just love the creative titles of some of these cozy mysteries! I have heard of this series, but have not yet read one of the titles. Was this the first one? If not, did you think you missed anything by not reading the first in the series?

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  5. I enjoyed this book, but haven't picked up any from the rest of the series yet. Next time I'm in the mood for a cozy I have a whole stack of them to choose from. I'm pleased that you've discovered them.

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  6. These books have so many fans at my library. I haven't read any of them yet but hope too one day.

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  7. I'm not usaully a lover of cozy mysteries, but I make an exception for Agatha. You have some wonderful books ahead of you.

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  8. This is my first year reading cozies...don't know what took so long. I am so glad you enjoyed it. Did you laugh out loud when she did her civic duty taking out the elderly couple? That was classic:)

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  9. The Literary Stew - This was definitely one of those cases of finding the perfect book at the perfect time!

    Sandy - The Cotswolds are so beautiful! We spent a day driving through some of the villages almost two years ago, but I'm sure you got to experience much more on bicycle.

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  10. Nothing like a cozy mystery in cold weather! Will keep an eye out for this one. Thank you.

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  11. Book Bird Dog - I'm so glad to hear you've liked all the books. It seems like some series are good for a few, then head down hill. I'll look forward to more fun with Agatha!

    Molly - This is the first in the Agatha Raisin series. I think it sets things up pretty well and provides some insight into her character. Not sure if it will be rehashed in the following books or not.

    Jackie - I have decided that Agatha Raisin books will be my 'cozy mystery of choice' for a while. Will you be reading them in order or choosing randomly from your stack?

    Darlene - I hope you will pick up an Agatha Raisin book if the 'cozy mystery mood' strikes!

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  12. FleurFisher - I don't think I've ever read a cozy mystery before (unless The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency is considered a cozy?) Agatha is officially my 'cozy mystery of choice'!

    Book Psmith - Agatha taking the elderly couple for an outing had me laughing out loud. I enjoyed this book so much...thank you again for sending it to me!

    DS - Cozy mysteries and blustery winter days seem to go hand in hand (along with a cup of tea, of course). Hope you get to enjoy an Agatha Raisin cozy this winter!

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  13. Agatha Raisin is one of those characters that I love and hate. Sometimes I want to shake some sense into her -- but I love the books! I think I've read the first three so far. I plan on making my way through the series. I'm also reading Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series (on audio).

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  14. Beth F - I think this will be a series I keep coming back to. My plan is to read the second book sometime between Christmas and New Years.

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  15. How funny- I just met Agatha thanks to Kaye of Pudgy Penguin and like you I immediately loved her!! I'm really becoming addicted to these cozy mysteries and I see many many more of Agatha Raisin in my future!!

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  16. Staci - Looks like we'll be reading our way through this series together. (I like seeing your face with your comment!)

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  17. I have never read any of these. I do enjoy a good cozy from time to time; great review.

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  18. Diane - Cozy mysteries are new to me. Hope to read the next Agatha Raisin between Christmas and New Years..it'll be a nice relaxing break!

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  19. I need to try this series. Sounds a little like Mrs. Pollifax by Gilman? Thanks for the recommendation.

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  20. Stacybuckeye - I'm not familiar with Mrs. Pollifax, but I'm going to look her up!

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  21. Yes, I did read this book this year and loved Agatha Raisin. And she and I are the same age! I will be visiting her again.

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  22. Kim - So glad to hear you're an Agatha Raisin fan! I plan to visit her again, too.

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  23. I love Agatha Raisin, she is so down to earth. You reminded me of the series and I will have to read some more of her Cozy books.

    Christy

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  24. Christy - Thank you for commenting, and I'm glad I reminded you about Agatha Raisin. Cozy mysteries are a new genre for me and I really enjoyed this one! I hope to read the second in the series, The Vicious Vet, over the holidays.

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  25. I stopped by your blog today. I adore the lakeside picture. I discovered Agatha Raisin a few years ago and have loved everyone of the books she is in and also the Hamish MacBeth series.
    cozyintexas.blogspot.com
    www.annsummerville.com

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  26. Cozy in Texas - Thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the lake picture. I'm looking forward to more Agatha Raisin books, and will look for Hamish MacBeth, too!

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

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