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Monday, December 17, 2012

Audiobook Review: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton

SERIES: Agatha Raisin, Book #1
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton 
NARRATOR: Penelope Keith
PUBLICATION DATE: November 15, 2012
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 6 hrs and 26 mins
GENRE: Mystery
After years of bullying and cajoling others as a high-flying public relations boss, Agatha Raisin's early retirement to the picture-postcard village of Carsley in the Cotswolds is a dream come true. And how better to begin making herself a local leading light than by entering the village quiche-making competition? Unburdened by old-fashioned ideas of fair play, the ruthless Agatha decides to ensure she wins by buying her entry from a London delicatessen. Alas, Agatha's perfect product is soon exposed--as not only store-bought but poisoned. The contest judge succumbs after eating it, and with him go Agatha's reputation and her chances of rural bliss--unless she can expose the poisoner...

I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own. 

M.C. Beaton’s cozy mysteries have been on my "To Be Read" list for a long time, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to review the first audiobook in Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death.

Agatha Raisin, a former Public Relations exec, takes early retirement to fulfill a lifelong dream to buy a cottage in the Cotswolds. Her parents took her there on a family vacation when she was a child, and she never forgot the village’s beauty and charm and vowed to retire there one day. The neighbours and village residents are friendly enough, always calling out a congenial greeting, but Agatha is lonely. She longs for the hustle and bustle of London and wonders whether she has made a horrid mistake in selling her PR firm and moving to the countryside. Agatha’s work was her life, and she had little time for or interest in maintaining friendships. This is made all the more apparent when no one comes to call on her.

Desperate to win over the residents of the village, Agatha enters a local baking competition. The only problem is that she has never baked or cooked in her life, but that doesn’t stop Agatha! Ever the shrewd one, she travels to a London bakery renowned for its quiches and buys one to pass off as her own in the competition. She is shocked to lose to the local favourite, who wins every year. Disgusted by the obvious favouritism displayed by the judge, she tells them to discard her quiche in the trash.

The judge's wife decides not to waste Agatha’s quiche, and she takes it home to her husband. When he winds up dead, Agatha’s poisoned quiche is to blame.

I cannot recall when I have met a more entertaining protagonist! Agatha Raisin is a woman who is used to getting what she wants, and I enjoyed seeing her thrown off her game by the village locals. She is a determined woman, and she does not give up so easily. Her assistant, Roy, is the closest thing to a friend that she has, and his quirkiness is a great complement to her stuffiness. I also really enjoyed Agatha’s unlikely friendship with policeman, Bill Wong, which came across as very warm and genuine.

Beaton writes a clever mystery! Add to that a memorable heroine, such as Agatha Raisin, and lots of humour and you have a winning combination! Beaton’s prose conjures up such vivid imagery in my mind, and I found myself whisked away to the Cotswolds with Agatha Raisin as though I was really there!

There could not be a more perfect narrator than Penelope Keith, who made me feel like I was sitting down with her over a cup of tea as she regaled me with Agatha’s exploits. I love Keith’s accent, and it made me feel even more immersed in England’s countryside.

I am hooked on Agatha Raisin! I cannot wait to read more of this fun series, which is the crème de la crème of cozy mysteries!

5 stars! It was superb! I loved it, and I will likely re-read it again in the future! You should definitely read it! A big thanks to AudioGO and Audiobook Jukebox for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

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