The latest installment of M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series has only been out this month, and already both my Mum and I have read it – with much pleasure!
“The Blood of an Englishman” is surely one of the best in the series, combining all the elements fans of Agatha Raisin enjoy:
the cast of familiar characters plus some new, case-specific additions; the setting of idyllic Cotswold village Carsely and nearby town Mirchester; fast-paced (but not too fast) plot; detail where it helps but not where it doesn’t; a case that is neither too obvious nor too complicated; and of course there is Agatha herself with all her well-known strengths and flaws. She still smokes, still suffers from low self-esteem when around anyone who is younger and better looking than her, still is quick to set her eyes, mind and heart on any even remotely attractive man in her orbit, and surprisingly, she is still in her mid-50s – even though this is her 26th adventure, and most of the books cover a whole year (some even more than that).
M.C. Beaton’s style is as brisk as always. Even by her most ardent fan it could hardly be called elegant, but that is not what she is aiming for anyway (at least not with the Agatha Raisin series). There were very few moments in the book when I thought her editor could have done a better job; one is the sentence “piles of dingy slush were piled up”. Another one was the mentioning of a date with a man on Tuesday while five pages further on, the same date happens on a Saturday.
If you have read and liked any of the former Agatha Raisin books, you will like this one, too. And you will probably also enjoy the little extra: A bonus story, “Christmas Crumble”.