The cozy British mystery is in good hands with M. C. Beaton – with the updated non-coziness of sleuth Agatha Raisin: often funny, but negative, sometimes mean, and making usually bad choices in men and in life fairly consistently. Her intuition works, though, and solves most of the crimes.
Marion McChesney Gibbons uses many pseudonyms, for her various series and stand alone books, mostly fiction. She writes two cozy mystery series as M. C. Beaton: Agatha Raisin, a very modern woman who lives in a village near London, and the Hamish Macbeth series, a policeman in the Highlands in
Scotland, a pretty traditional and fair and serious guy.
I dip into those series every once in a while, and just finished Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate, which involves a perhaps relationship for Agatha, her close friendship with the Vicar’s wife, Mrs. Bloxby, and the new gorgeous curate in the parish, whose looks and sermons have knocked over most of the females in the congregation.
“Intelligent amusing reading” is what the Atlanta Journal Constitution calls this book, and I would certainly agree. Agatha gets herself into several situations with each of the main characters – including being the last person to see the curate alive. This book gives us several tours of several parts of London, introduces us to duck races, English style, gives Agatha several chances to misunderstand and misjudge, and put herself into imminent danger more than once. But she is funny, our Agatha, overeacting and overemoting, also taking the road with the most drama, rather than thinking things through and taking a deep breath.
Exasperating and funny. Also well-plotted,challenging characters, and with lots of chances to figure out how British villages work. Good for the brain, good for the funny bone.