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You can’t get much closer to Agatha Christie than someone (I suspect) named after her. Agatha Raisin, by M. C. Beaton, is a middle aged, high-flying PR executive who yearns for the picture-perfect country life. So she takes early retirement and heads to a beautiful village in the Cotswolds.
Finding life a little quiet, she decides to get into the spirit of rural life by entering the village fete quiche baking competition. Lacking the necessary baking skills Agatha cheats and buys a quiche from a London shop.
Imagine her horror when the judge dies – from food poisoning caused by the quiche.
What to do? Admit to murder, or admit the quiche wasn’t hers? Perhaps if she finds the culprit, she can clear her name…
And so this spiky, but comic, amateur sleuth sets off on an investigation in Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death.
Very tongue in cheek, M.C. Beaton is easy to read. She is also prolific, responsible not only for Agatha Raisin but also the Hamish MacBeth series so if you like her style then you are set for reading material for a good few months!
Inspector Witherspoon is an affable man, but not perhaps the sharpest member of the police force. So when he is called to investigate the sudden death of Dr Slocum, he is a bit unsure of the best way to proceed.
Luckily, his housekeeper happens to be the resourceful Mrs Jeffries.
With a mind well able to piece together clues and solve mysteries, added to gentle tact to suggest new avenues for investigation to her employer, Mrs Jeffries sets out to find the murderer.
She is aided by the staff in the household. Everyone working for Inspector Witherspoon has reason to be grateful to him. He has supported most of them through difficult circumstances, so they set to willingly, to ask questions and uncover information.
With the Inspector and Mrs Jeffries series, Emily Brightwell has created a loveable buffoon in Inspector Witherspoon and an engaging housekeeper in Mrs Jeffries. Here, you get all the fun of solving the crime, in true Christie style, with the added gentle humour of Mrs Jeffries attempting to prod the Inspector in the right direction without him realising. Good fun.
There are a surprising number of results when you start hunting for Agatha Christie, similar authors. Another excellent one is Carola Dunn.
It’s the 1920s. The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple is trying to make her own way in the world with a radical step – she’s taken a job as a journalist for a magazine.
Her status gives her unparalleled access into England’s stately homes. Her first job – to write about the house and family of Wentwater Court. When fellow guest, and complete cad, Lord Stephen Astwick is found floating in the icy estate lake, it looks at first like a terrible accident.
Daisy’s photos, taken the day before, however, show there is reason to suspect otherwise. And when the police need some help with the interviews, Daisy finds herself embroiled in the search for answers.
Death at Wentwater Court is the first in a long line of Daisy Dalrymple mysteries. They will test your amateur detective skills.
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