23 June, 2015

#BookReview :: The Blood of an Englishman (Agatha Raisin #25) by M.C. Beaton

"Fee, fie, fo, fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman..."Even though Agatha Raisin loathes amateur dramatics, her friend Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, has persuaded her to support the local pantomime. Stifling a yawn at the production of "Babes in the Woods," Agatha watches the baker playing an ogre strut and threaten on the stage, until a trapdoor opens and the Ogre disappears in an impressive puff of smoke. Only he doesn't re-appear at final curtain.

Surely this isn't the way the scene was rehearsed? When it turns out the popular baker has been murdered, Agatha puts her team of private detectives on the case. They soon discover more feuds and temperamental behavior in amateur theatrics than in a professional stage show—and face more and more danger as the team gets too close to the killer.

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I feel like I have been living under a rock for not knowing about Agatha Raisin before this! This is the 25th book in the series and I only came to know about it when Hachette India sent the book my way! Thank You Hachette for introducing me to this new character!

Agatha Raisin has no interest in amateur theatrics, but agrees to attend a local production with her friend Mrs. Bloxby. She doesn’t particularly enjoy the play and is happy to take her leave at the end of it. But with police cars arriving at the scene, she realizes that something is up. The local baker had been found murdered in a gruesome manner and the prime suspect is the shows handsome producer, Gareth. Even though she doesn’t really need a client to get involved in the investigation, Agatha takes on the case when she is approached by the suspect. Slowly and steadily Agatha builds up a list of suspect, all of whom seemed to be interested in the baker’s wife… Is this a cold blooded murder or a crime of passion?

Agatha Raisin is such a unique character. She has set up her own private investigation agency after quitting her high flying career in PR in London and settling into an early retirement. She smokes, drinks and is crazy about men. But she is also dedicated, liberal and quite a lonely woman whose only friend is Sir Charles. She is not what you would expect a PI to be, yet her unusual character and methods work out fine and bring in something different to the stories. I have to say though, it would have been better if I had read the series from the beginning (something I intend to do now) as I felt the connection between Agatha and some of the characters and wish I had known the backstory there. I did not like most of the characters that appeared in the book though. Are they all nasty people in that town or what? The plot itself is straightforward enough and I could guess the killer in the first half of the book itself. However, it still made for an interesting read.

A rather different sort of book for all the mystery lovers out there.

Review Copy received from Hachette India

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