Agatha Raisin

Created by M.C. Beaton

Cozy alert! (The character’s first name was a clue).

M.C. Beaton‘s AGATHA RAISIN wasn’t even a private investigator for a good piece of her career. When she first appeared, in Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death way back in 1992, she was just your typical amateur sleuth– a successful, middle-aged public relations agent who had recently sold off her London PR firm, and taken early retirement and settled down in the sleepy, touristy (and fictional) village of Carsely in the Cotswolds, a few hours west. She was also, perhaps surprisingly for a cozy, a little obnoxious–bossy, cranky, cynical, outspoken and stubborn. Perhaps, not surprsingly, her love life also stank.

But she had other things to keep herself (and readers) busy. She stumbled upon, or otherwise became involved in homicide cases with alarming regularity, resulting in regularly scheduled novels (she’s on the one-a-year plan for almost thirty years now), all titled “Agatha Raisin and the…,” and proved to be quite the amateur sleuth, just abrasive and gritty enough to avoid tripping my gag reflex.

Naturally, Agatha was surrounded by a large, diverse and mildly odd but endearing cast of characters, all hopelessly entangled in each other’s lives, including her pal Police Detective Bill Wong, her young assistant at the agency Toni Gilmour , her ex James Lacey, her secretary Mrs. Simpson, the disapproving vicar, Reverend Alf Bloxby and (sigh) her cats Hodge and Boswell. Cupid also makes regular appearances–this series always seems to have some relationship or another blooming or withering.

And so it goes…

In the last of these “branded” novels, Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance (2004), perhaps realizing she’s about to become a one-woman, soap opera version of Cabot’s Cove, Agatha opens an actual detective agency, Raisin Investigations, in the nearby (and also fictional) town of Mircester.

But don’t expect the series of lighthearted  cozies to reboot dramatically once Agatha turns pro–she’s still her charmingly prickly self, and her clients are still small town folk, with small town problems: missing pets, background checks, and children and husbands who have strayed. Of course, even the most trivial of these cases usually turn big and nasty.

But not too nasty, of course. Private eye or not, these are still cozies at their core, and a good chunk of Agatha’s “cases” still come from her “just happening” upon a murder (or a corpse) at a wedding or at her hairdresser’s.

These they’re way popular cozies, it turns out, with a large and endearing cast of characters, set in a small (and scenic) village in England. It’s hard to believe it took them so long to bring it to television. American Anglophiles in particular would just eat it up–and they did! The pilot and first series were put out by Sky One in the U.K., but by the second season, Acorn, the American “British” channel, had jumped on board as well.

Mind you, Agatha’s character in the TV series (played by Ashley Jensen) is notably different from her depiction in the novels. She’s less prickly and a little softer around the edges (and prettier), and the large cast is even more hopelessly entangled in each other’s lives.

NOVELS

  • Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (1992)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet (1993)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (1994)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley (1995)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage (1996)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist (1997)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death (1998)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham (1999)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden (1999)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam (2000)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell (2001)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came (2002)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate (2003)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House (2003)
  • Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance (2004)
  • The Perfect Paragon (2005)
  • Love, Lies and Liquor (2006)
  • Kissing Christmas Goodbye (2007)
  • A Spoonful of Poison (2008)
  • There Goes the Bride (2009)
  • The Busy Body (2010)
  • As the Pig Turns (2011)
  • Hiss and Hers (2012)
  • Something Borrowed, Someone Dead (2013)
  • The Blood of an Englishman (2014)
  • Dishing the Dirt (2015)
  • Pushing Up Daisies (2016)
  • The Witches’ Tree (2017)
  • The Dead Ringer (2018)
  • Beating About the Bush (2019)
  • Hot to Trot (2020; with R.W. Green) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
  • Down the Hatch (2021) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!

SHORT STORIES

  • “Agatha Raisin and the Christmas Crumble” (2012)
  • “Agatha Raisin: Hell’s Bells” (2013)
  • “Agatha’s First Case” (2015)

TELEVISION

  • AGATHA RAISIN AND THE QUICHE OF DEATH
    (2014, Sky One)
    Pilot
    120 minutes
    Premiere: December 26, 2014
    Based on the novel by M.C. Beaton
    Written by Stewart Harcourt
    Directed by Geoffrey Sax
    Starring Ashley Jensen as Agatha Raisin
    Mathew Horne as Roy Silver
    Katy Wix as Gemma Simpson
    Jamie Glover as James Lacey
    Matt McCooey as DC Bill Wong
    Jason Barnett as DCI Wilkes
    June Watson as Mrs. Josephs
    Lucy Liemann as Sarah Bloxby
    and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Jez Bloxby
  • AGATHA RAISIN
    (2016–, Sky One/Acorn)
    Series
    20 episodes, all 60 minutes, unless otherwise noted
    Based upon characters created by M.C. Beaton
    Writers:
    Directors:
    Ashley Jensen as Agatha Raisin
    Mathew Horne as Roy Silver
    Katy Wix as Gemma Simpson
    Jamie Glover as James Lacey
    Matt McCooey as DC Bill Wong
    Jason Barnett as DCI Wilkes
    June Watson as Mrs. Josephs
    Lucy Liemann as Sarah Bloxby
    and Rhashan Stone as Jez Bloxby

    • SERIES ONE
    • The Walkers of Dembley” (June 7, 2016)
    • Hell’s Bells” (June 14, 2016)
    • The Wellspring of Death” (June 21, 2016)
    • The Potted Gardener” (June 28, 2016)
    • The Vicious Vet” (July 5, 2016)
    • The Day the Floods Camet” (July 12, 2016)
    • The Witch of Wyckhaddent” (July 19, 2016)
    • The Murderous Marriaget” (July 26, 2016)
    • SERIES TWO
    • The Wizard of Evesham” (November 19, 2018; 90 minutes)
    • The Fairies of Fryfam” (December 24, 2018; 90 minutes)
    • The Case of the Curious Curate” (January 28, 2019; 90 minutes)
    • SERIES THREE
    • The Haunted House” (October 28, 2019)
    • The Deadly Dance (Part 1)” (February 10, 2020)
    • The Deadly Dance (Part 2)” (February 10, 2020)
    • The Love from Hell (Part 1)” (February 17, 2020)
    • The Love from Hell (Part 2)” (February 17, 2020)
    • As the Pig Turns (Part 1)” (February 24, 2020)
    • As the Pig Turns” (February 24, 2020)
    • SERIES FOUR
    • “Kissing Christmas Goodbye”
    • “Love, Lies and Liquor”
    • “A Spoonful of Poison”
    • “There Goes the Bride”
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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