EXCERPT: They were through the outer edge of the thicket, and only a few feet to their right they could see the brogue, the ankle, the lower leg, and…that was it. There was no body, just a sawn off leg lying amid the litter of dead leaves and twigs.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: When private detective Agatha Raisin comes across a severed leg in a roadside hedge, it looks like she is about to become involved in a particularly gruesome murder. Looks, however, can be deceiving, as Agatha discovers when she is employed to investigate a case of industrial espionage at a factory where nothing is quite what it seems.
The factory mystery soon turns to murder and a bad-tempered donkey turns Agatha into a national celebrity, before bringing her ridicule and shame. To add to her woes, Agatha finds herself grappling with growing feelings for her friend and occasional lover, Sir Charles Fraith. Then, as a possible solution to the factory murder unfolds, her own life is thrown into deadly peril. Will Agatha get her man at last? Or will the killer get her first?
MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed this romp with Agatha (she hates being called Aggie). I enjoyed her acerbic wit, and even her temper tantrums. She is a fault-finder supreme who can be equally charming when she wants or needs to be, and has a smile that lights up the room and melts hearts. But she does call a spade a spade, and abhors stupidity and/or anyone who doesn’t see things from her perspective. Her personal life is something of a shambles, and I felt very sorry for her assistant Toni at times.
I love Beaton’s descriptions of people…’Charles was a crease-free zone……If he were ever – perish the thought – to grow wrinkly with age, Gustav, his loyal retainer, would find a way to iron him.’ And the way she gently pokes fun at the British aristocracy and their social climbing hangers on. ‘They sell sanitary towels?’ ‘Well someone has to.’ ‘Of course someone has to, Charles, but you don’t marry them.’
Agatha Raisin comes across much better on paper than she is portrayed in the TV series…I must admit to not having been able to sit through one entire episode.
I enjoyed this amusing interlude with Agatha. She was just the antidote I needed for all my recent dark reads. She brought a smile to my face, and I can see myself calling on her again when I am in need of some light relief.
THE AUTHOR: Marion Chesney Gibbons
aka: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Marion Chesney, Charlotte Ward, Sarah Chester.
Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.
Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to St Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Beating About the Bush by M.C. Beaton for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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