M. C. Beaton, Quiche of Death

Posted October 11, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

The Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin, #1)The Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
Series: Agatha Raisin, 1
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First in the Agatha Raisin mystery series set in a tiny Cotswold village in England and revolving around Agatha herself as she attempts to make the transition from advertising executive to retiree.

The Story
Desperate to fit in with village life, Agatha decides to enter the cooking contest with one of Mr. Economides’ quiches. When she doesn’t win, she goes off in a huff leaving her quiche behind for the judge, Mr. Cummings-Browne, to have for his dinner.

A fatal error as it seems the quiche has an unexpected ingredient leaving Mr. Cummings-Browne’s body to be find by the cleaning lady, Doris Simpson.

The Characters
The cover of the book claims Agatha Raisin is a cross between Agatha Christie, Auntie Mame, and Lucille Ball with a dash of pit bull. Well, I’ll agree with Lucille Ball and the pit bull. Oh, all right, there’s a bit of Agatha Christie simply due to the first name and they both live in villages. But there the resemblance stops! Agatha is rude, selfish, and impatient. She runs roughshod over everyone and gets pissy when they do the same to her.

The police are incredibly patient with her while still strongly cautioning her to leave the investigating to them. I must say I can’t really blame Agatha for investigating as she does achieve results in spite of lacking any obvious reasons for thinking it’s murder. [I’m probably being pissy here because I just don’t like Agatha.]

Mrs. Bloxby is a true Christian as she accepts Agatha as she is and is very supportive of everyone’s efforts in the village. I suspect she sees more deeply into each person’s true heart and makes allowances. Bill Wong is similar. He’s a very happy fellow with a great deal of tolerance.

Mr. Cummings-Browne judges many of the competitions in the area and it’s rather amazing how often the same women continue to win in the same categories. Year after year after…well, you get the picture. Yet, the Cummings-Brownes seem to have quite a happy marriage.

My Take
It’s all too simplistic and very lacking in depth. Part of my problem with it is Agatha’s character. She’s such an insecure and immature person and I just don’t enjoy that. I do like the village life—that Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, is a treat with a good sense of human nature much like Bill Wong, one of the policemen in the village. He’s befriended Agatha—which just goes to show what a huge heart that man has!—and he sees right through her. He is constantly trying to help her fit in and achieve her heart’s desire.

It certainly was funny how easily Wong saw through Agatha’s cooking expertise!

The Cover
The cover is accurate enough with its picture of a quiche. The title is certainly right for Cummings-Browne did get the Quiche of Death.

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