Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell – M.C.Beaton

I was talking about the Agatha Raisin novels the other day and some people were really shocked that I liked them (aka judged me). ‘I think they must be your guilty pleasure’ one of these new acquaintances said (though how long we will be acquaintances after Raisin-Gate I am not sure), my response was ‘well maybe… only without the guilt’. For me Agatha Raisin is someone, I know she isn’t actually real, who I turn to when I am feeling a bit down in the dumps or when I need a break for some of the more thought provoking literature I might have devoured. I seem to have tripped myself up there and accidentally sounded like a snob, I am not a snob, I love these books and part of reading is about simple escapism and reading pleasure and that for me is Agatha Raisin.

You know what you are getting when you open an Agatha Raisin. People are going to get murdered, most likely in Carsley where Agatha lives (unless, as is her want sometimes, she has taken us on holiday with her) and that Agatha is going to somehow end up snooping and trying to solve the murder whilst getting the backs up of all the police, suspects and loved one surrounding the case of the deceased, generally through offending with her blunt personality and endless sarcasm.  We have all this once more with ‘Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell’ only this story has even more of a personal twist for one of the suspects, who promptly disappears, is James Lacey, Agatha’s husband.

Constable and Robinson Books, paperback, 2006, fiction, 224 pages, kindly sent by the publisher

In fact the whole Agatha and James thing, which has been going on throughout the eleven books so far and I am guessing will continue to do, is in many ways the heart of this book. Things have not been marital bliss for Agatha and James, they live in separate houses though next door to each other for one, and after James thinks Agatha has had an affair with Sir Charles (another recurring character in Agatha’s life) he has an affair with Melissa, a local bit of stuff, who then ends up dead and prime suspect number one, James, vanishes. Of course the reader knows where but it is up to Agatha to find out and clear his name whilst doing so and of course I am not going to spoil this one any further.

I will be honest and say that ‘Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell’ wasn’t my favourite of the series so far but I did really enjoy it. I enjoyed going back to the Cotswolds and catching up with the acidic and very funny if heartbroken, Agatha and also seeing Mrs Bloxby, Roy Silver and Bill Wong and how they were all getting on. I also enjoyed following the trail of clues and red herrings and not having a clue who the killer was until just the right moment. It’s was just the escapism I was craving and reminded me why I have an Agatha on the bedside at all times, you never know when you might need that comfort read one dark winters (or summers, or any evening really) night.

Are you a fan of the Agatha Raisin series? Have any of you read the other series by M.C.Beaton, or the stand alone novels and how did you get on? I haven’t ventured yet. And what, if you have one, is your guilty free guilty pleasure read?


Filed under Agatha Raisin, Constable & Robinson Publishing, M.C. Beaton, Review

25 responses to “Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell – M.C.Beaton

  1. Pingback: Agatha Raisin – The Savidge Reads Advent Calendar Day 13 | Savidge Reads

  2. dominic

    the orton diaries (edited by john lahr) have long been my open at any page delight. a sentence for almost every mood or occasion. & Then some.

  3. Another Agatha – Agatha Christie. They are my security blanket of books… I’m about 10 books away from reading them all, and then I guess I’ll have to start over.

  4. I love Maeve Binchey order everyone of her books.Life is tough enough who cares what people read.

  5. Laura Caldwell

    I have two series, one English-Angela Thirkell, and one American-Della T. Lutes. Either one with a chai latte is my comfort read.

  6. I’d love to read the Agatha Raisin series, but I just haven’t gotten round to them yet. In terms of guilt-free guilty pleasures, I would say most romance novels, like the Carpathian series by Christine Feehan and the Inferno Club series by Gaelen Foley. That or series that I enjoyed as a teenager, mainly the Artemis Fowl series (up to book 5 anyway) by Eoin Colfer. To be honest, I never saw much point in differentiating between books based on reputation; pleasure is pleasure, no matter what the guise.

  7. Jo

    Agatha Raisin is a guilty pleasure and I have only just discovered them this year! Carola Dunn is another one with Daisy Dalrymple. Joanne Fluke, Maggie Sefton, Rhys Bowen or with a murder mystery theme to them.

    Other comfort has to be Debbie Macomber – sheer bliss.

    But I could also name so many more so I will stop now!

  8. Emma

    Agatha Christie and the Harry Potter books are my guilt free guilty pleasures.

  9. Liz

    I’ve read a few of the Hamish MacBeth series, but I shall give the Agatha series a try, now that you’ve brought it to my attention.

    My reading is eclectic but tended to be serious until confined post-surgery. Books on the Holocaust, the Balkan wars, Japanese prisoners of war and such were doing nothing for my spirits. I reread some of Agatha Christie’s books and sampled other cozies. The perfect tonic.

  10. Susan E

    Sophie Kinsella is my guilty pleasure…I m doling her books out to myself one by one to make them last longer. So silly and so well done.

  11. Susan in TX

    I haven’t tried Agatha Raisin yet, but I now feel like I’m missing out on something! My guilty (or not) pleasures tend to be mysteries as well – the Jane Austen mysteries by Stephanie Barron, old Nero Wolfe or Agatha Christies. Again, I must say that these posts are great fun — instead of opening the flap on a calendar, I pop open my computer to see what new treasure you are going to tell us about today. It’s very refreshing after a day of busyness. Thank you for posting these!

  12. I haven’t read this series yet but it’s definitely on my list of books to get to someday due to your raving about it over the years! My not-guilty pleasure reads are the Amelia Peabody books by Elizabeth Peters. They’re fantastic in the winter when everything is cold and gloomy and you get to read about a scorching hot day in Egypt. They aren’t fine literature but they have been reliable pick-me-ups for years.

  13. Ruthiella

    I have never heard of this series. It sounds fun. I can’t say as I have a current non guility guilty pleasure. I used to feel that way about Mary Higgens Clark, but I have grown out of that phase. I got tired of reading the same book, different title basically. I do like Maeve Binchy as comfort read. I haven’t started them yet, but I do plan on begining Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series next year, also mysteries and a bit of romance, but set in Egypt between the wars. I think they might fit the same bill.

  14. Read two of her books – not very interested in reading more.

  15. I haven’t read an Agatha Raisin but I have definitely got these books on my list for next year. My guilty free guilty pleasure read is Agatha Christie. Or Dan Brown, or Twilight. Wait. Actually that last one has guilt attached to it, so scrap that 🙂

  16. My non-guilty pleasure has to be Diana Gabaldon, who writes the Outlander time-travel novels. and the Lord John mysteries. I just love her. Love, love, love. I’ve re-read the first Outlander book half a dozen times and, after all these years, am still nursing crushes on both the male and female romantic leads. My librarian gave it to me when I was 12, and having a hard time at secondary school. She admitted that I was probably too young for the sex scenes, but that the rest of it would help, and it did.

  17. Mills and Boon romances are my guilt-free pleasures. Other people may mock and scoff, but there’s nothing quite like getting swept away by a handsome Alpha male on a cold winter’s night.

  18. Mills and Boon romances are my guilt-free pleasures. Other people may mock and scoff, but there’s nothing quite like getting swept away by a handsome Alpha male on a cold winter’s night.

    I love M.C. Beaton’s books, but haven’t read this one yet. I started out reading the historical romances she used to write as Marion Chesney and adore her Agatha Raisin books. I still have to try her Hamish Macbeth books though.

    I also love Elizabeth Peters’ books. She wrote some wonderful Gothic suspense novels as Barbara Michaels, too.

  19. All my reading (indeed all my pleasures) is guilt-free! What a strange question you posed, but reading the responses it would seem that I’m the one whose views are out-of-kilter.

  20. Loretta

    I have not read Agatha Raison books. My guilty pleasure (guilt-free, at times) is the Louise Penny mystery series set with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, set in a small village outside of Quebec. I read them as soon as they are published.

  21. Janet D

    My guilty pleasure is sitting down uninterrupted during the day with… a book:any book!

  22. Louise

    I love Agatha Raisin, I’ve just finished the forth book in the Edwardian series. As for guilty pleasures, it has to be Harry Potter or the Outlander series, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in those. Charlaine Harris is another guilty pleasure of mine. I do love short cosy mysteries like, Tea Shop mysteries, Booktown mysteries, Witchcraft mysteries and Cupcake mysteries..I’ve just finished one called The Buttercream Bump Off…what’s not to love?! 😉

  23. Yes, yes, and more yes. Even though she can be totally ridiculous, I love Agatha. The books are a lot of fun, and like you, I turn to them when I’m tired or sick or just need a comfort read.

    If you haven’t read Patricia Wentworth, I’m on a huge kick with her books. They’re fantastic, and Open Road has pubbed them ebook as they are out of print. So I’ve (temporarily) abandoned Agatha for Miss Silver.

  24. I don’t know if I have anything I can call a guilty pleasure or not. I’ve made a pledge to myself simply to read what I want to read and not let anyone else’s opinions put me off. Right at the moment, the closest thing would be some Doctor Who novels.

    I’ve always meant to try the Agatha Raisin books, but never have. Being one of those annoying people who insists on reading things in order, I’ve just popped over to Amazon to check out the first one. It’s now on its way to my [you know, that K-word] where I shall try it out when I have a moment to read something new.

  25. I love Agatha Raisin, her wit, her resilience and her dogged determination. It’s so amazing to see a fellow Agatha enthusiast. I’ve read almost all her books and as you correctly pointed out, her love triangle does get a trifle boring. However I find this series quite comforting and something I can dive into when I’m feeling slightly down 🙂
    The Wheel Of Time series by Robert Jordan is another favourite of mine.

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