Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came – M.C. Beaton

I have backdated this review; I am not posting it on the 23rd of April but actually on the 26th. This is for no other reason than the fact I have a huge pile of books which need reviewing and I want them out in the world. Being an over thinker, about everything it is ridiculous, I thought that people might think I was hiding these books away in the blog in a slightly guilty manner. The Agatha Raisin novels are indeed deemed a ‘guilty pleasure read’, yet I feel no guilt reading them at all. They are a delightful escape especially seeing as with this one, which is the eleventh in the series, M.C. Beaton seems to have changed things a lot.

Constable and Robinson, paperback, 2006, fiction, 224 pages, from my personal TBR

My love for the Agatha Raisin escapes I allow myself sporadically (well you don’t want to read a series too quickly do you) is strong, yet I am not the sort of person who is so blinded by the enjoyment I can’t see their faults. All of them so far have been great, but dare I say that the Agatha, James Lacey and Sir Charles love triangle has become a little formulaic. On one hand you know where you are, there is a certain familiarity to it, on the other it can be a little predictable. Well in ‘Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came’ there is a big change. If you are reading the series in order you might want to skip the next paragraph or two though for some spoilers…

You see Agatha and James are getting a divorce and Sir Charles has met someone else. So now, along with possibly the darkest murder in the series yet, we have some new characters coming in, such as crime writer John Armitage, and we see a slightly new Agatha too. Agatha has been away in the South Pacific taking a break from life to lick her wounds post divorce and also to get a bearing on her life. When she returns she witnesses the sighting of a drowned women dressed in full bridal attire. Agatha being Agatha decides that she must find out more and so we know we have a new case of amateur detection on the go.

What I particularly liked about ‘The Day the Floods Came’ was the fact it seemed so much darker than the previous novels. It still has that comfortable village life feel, the bumbling characters and waspish wit, and yet there is a real unease here. Agatha finds herself, sometimes to comical effect, submerged in the world of clubbing and drugs (something which normally turns me off a book) and youth culture. Despite her being quite a brittle character she also seemed warmer and more empathetic and yet even more no nonsense at the same time, she really is a woman after my own heart. Most importantly, I didn’t have a clue who the killer was.

So all in all, ‘The Day The Floods Came’ is one of my favourite Agatha Raisins yet. Still escapist, funny and familiar, so I can get lost in the world of the Cotswolds that I like so much, and yet with a certain freshness and even slight edge to it that makes me want to pick up the thirteenth (hopefully not unlucky) in the series very soon. Lovely stuff!

It’s nice to have a favourite series and get the comfort and the surprise element isn’t it? Which series do you love? Are you and Agatha fan or can you just not see the point? What are your thoughts on ‘guilty pleasure reads’? You can hear myself and Gavin talking about just such a thing on The Readers here.



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

10 responses to “Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came – M.C. Beaton

  1. Nothing, but nothing (not even your excellently written review), would persuade me to read anything else by MC Beaton. I actually read two Agatha books (the second to see if it was bad as the first, and it was). I hated them – badly written twaddle doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt about them.

  2. This is how I feel about the Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. I don’t generally read series like this but I got hooked on Amelia early and now when I read one I feel like I’m visiting old friends. They are fairly formulaic but I love how Amelia takes charge in a male oriented world of Egyptian archeology in the late 1800’s. So don’t feel guilty, Simon! Everyone is entitled to a little ‘comfort’ reading.

  3. I do like Agatha Raisin she is a guilty pleasure of mine too. I have read to about number 20 – and think the earlier ones are the best. The last few I haven’t enjoyed quite as much.

  4. Have read quite a few but not this one. Thanks for the post.

  5. jenn aka the picky girl

    I read this one a couple of months ago. They’re really SO horrible, but I love them anyway. As you say, totally formulaic:

    Agatha is bored. James or Charles – either or both – have women or other interests. She needs a murder. And, conveniently, one happens. Then she enlists James and/or Charles. Shenanigans ensue. Agatha goes off by herself to do some investigating and gets into a lurch. Note side appearances by Bill Wong and Mrs. Bloxby.

    I know all of this, but when I want a comfort read, these are perfect. If I’m feeling down in the dumps or sick, Agatha makes me feel better, partially because I know (or at least hope) that I will never be that pathetic. 😉 She does have a good heart, though, on occasion.

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