This is my first book in the Agatha Raisin series and it was a such a charming and enchanting read. I have also only just found out that M. C. Beaton also writes the popular Hamish Macbeth series. Ashamedly, I also never knew it was a book series and always thought it was a T.V. series because my rather eccentric and very funny second year History lecturer kept enthusing about Hamish Macbeth and Robert Carlyle during lectures. What’s this got to do with History? Well, Robert Carlyle also played Hitler in a film. Anyway, enough of a digression and on with the review!
Having no prior knowledge of the books and its characters, I didn’t find it at all difficult to warm to them. Agatha Raisin, a middle-aged man crazy woman and a rather excellent private investigator, runs her own successful detective agency in the quiet English country town of Cotswolds. She had escaped from London after a lengthy, and quite successful, career as a publicist. In Spoonful of Sugar, Agatha is called upon by a Parish priest to help them market their small town festival in which the jam competition is the highlight event. The campaign is successful but it is soon revealed that the jam has been spiked with LSD and several old ladies goes tripping, some literally. Among trying to solve the case of the spiked jam, Agatha also chases a handsome and charismatic widower who she is absolutely besotted with and attempts to solve his wife’s strange death that occurred a few years before.
This was really a fun and light read. I finished it in one sitting and was thrilled to bits with it. There are light twists and turns in the plot that keeps things interesting and it is a very relaxed whodunnit. It’s very much a cozy mystery and quite quaint which I liked. Agatha, which I’m sure is a play on author Agatha Christie, is somewhat of an anti-hero. Man chasing, somewhat vain, rumpled, chain-smoking and with a penchant for gin and tonic, Agatha is a great character.
I’m hooked onto the series and on M. C. Beaton. I’ve ordered the first in the series, Agatha Christie and the Quiche of Death and plan to read them chronologically. The cover illustrations by Francis Farmar are also so beautiful and befitting.