Back to top

The cranky donkey steals the show

Cover of Beating about the Bush: An
A review of Beating about the Bush: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton

This is the thirtieth book in the Agatha Raisin series and I was hoping and praying that M.C. Beaton aka Marion Chesney would continue writing for a long time to come. Sadly, she passed away on December 30, 2019 at 83 years old. I had the privilege to meet her in 2018 and talk to her about Madison and her Agatha Raisin BBC television series. The author fondly remembered visiting Madison for the World Mystery Conference Bouchercon XXXVII in 2006 where she was the guest of honor. She also told me that her Poor Relation regency romance series had been optioned for TV and that I should stay tuned for that. All of this was thrilling for me. I wonder what will happen now. I suspect that there may be another novel or two already in the works and am hopeful that the author's estate will keep things rolling along.

If you're not familiar, Agatha Raisin is a recently retired public relations guru who moves from London to the Cotswolds and sets up a detective agency. Her village of Carsely and the surrounding areas are seemingly overrun with murder and mayhem. There's a lot of the same old hijinks in this latest mystery. The detective agency is called in to investigate a potential crime at a tech company, Agatha and her young assistant Toni Gilmour fight like mother and daughter, Agatha's true love Sir Charles Fraith is secretly engaged to someone much younger and wealthier, and Agatha meets someone new and promising. The sex and romance among the retired set in the Cotswolds is truly inspired. Even more notable, Beating about the Bush is one of the funniest Agatha Raisin mysteries I've read in a while thanks to the addition of a cranky donkey named Wizz-Wazz who is implicated in the murder of a recent client's wife. Too much!

If you haven't read any Agatha Raisin books, I highly recommend the series. It's sassy and fun and very cozy as far as mysteries go. Will Agatha retire for real and ride off into the sunset with Sir Charles? That's the series ending I've been waiting for.

Feb 24, 2020