Agatha Christie isn’t the only Agatha in the British literary crime world, there’s also Agatha Raisin!
Who is Agatha Raisin?
Agatha Raisin is a fictional detective created by M. C. Beaton (Marion Chesney) in a series of humorous mystery novels.
Frustrated middle-aged public-relations agent Agatha Raisin moved from London to Carsely in the Cotswolds when she sold her PR firm. She then took early retirement and started to solve murders. Even if the people around her believe she solves crimes through luck, she finally opened her own detective agency in the nearby town of Mircester where police constable and friend Bill Wong is based.
Agatha Raisin Books in Order:
- Agatha’s First Case – It’s a prequel short story published in 2015. Obviously, you can read it later. In fact, it may be better to do that, except if you really want to read the series in chronological order.
- Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death – After Agatha’s many stressful years of bullying and cajoling others her early retirement to a picture-perfect village in the Costwolds is a dream come true. And how better to start making friends than by entering the village quiche-making competition? However, Agatha’s perfect quiche is soon exposed – as not only store-bought but poisoned!
- Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet – Agatha Raisin still hasn’t adjusted to village life where the only prospect for a hot evening out is a meeting of the Ladies Society. Agatha jumps at the chance to visit the new vet, who’s single and good-looking. Unfortunately the vet is soon found dead next to a high-strung horse.
- Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener – With garden Open Day approaching, Agatha longs for a nice juicy murder to remind her attractive bachelor neighbor, James Lacey, of her genius for investigation. And sure enough, a series of destructive assaults on the finest gardens is followed by an appalling murder.
- Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley – A woman has been found dead in a lonely field nearby. Her name is Jessica Tartinck, a hiker who infuriated wealthy landowners by insisting on her hiking club’s right to trek across their properties. Now it’s up to Agatha, with James’s help, to launch an investigation.
- Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage – After her first husband, Jimmy Raisin, stops her wedding and she is left jilted at the altar, he is found strangled to death, and Agatha Raisin must prove her innocence along with that of her intended.
- Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist – Agatha Raisin is off to Cyprus to track down her ex-fiance. Instead of enjoying their planned honeymoon, however, they witness the murder of an obnoxious tourist. And, much to James’ chagrin, she won’t rest until she finds the killer.
- Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death – This time, Agatha stumbles upon the victim of an unnatural death in Cotswold village’s famous natural spring. Who was the unlucky corpse? The Ancombe Parish Council chairman-and who wanted to allow the Ancombe Water Company to tap into the town’s spring.
- Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham – After a home dye job ruins her hair, Agatha Raisin turns to the wonderful new hairdresser in the neighboring town for help. And as Agatha soon learns, Mr. John is as skilled at repairing her coiffure as he is at romancing her heart. But the charming Mr. John isn’t all he appears to be.
- Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden – Agatha purchases a hair tonic (and a love potion, just in case!) and is soon sprouting hairs and capturing the fancy of the village police inspector. But the quiet town is stunned by the murder of a witch.
- Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam – When a fortune teller informs Agatha Raisin that her destiny-and true love-lies in Norfolk, she promptly rents a cottage in the quaint village of Fryfam. No sooner does she arrive than strange things start happening.
- Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell – Recently married to James Lacey, the witty and fractious Agatha Raisin quickly finds that marriage, and love, are not all they are cracked up to be. After a particularly raucous fight in the local pub, James suddenly vanishes-a bloodstain the only clue to his fate-and Agatha is the prime suspect.
- Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came – After having been miraculously cured of a brain tumor, James has decided to join a monastery in France. Agatha can usually depend on her old friend, Sir Charles Fraith, to be there when times are tough, but even Charles has abandoned her, dashing off to Paris to marry a young French tart.
- Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate – Agatha has given up on makeup and taken to wearing the loose cotton dresses and flat, sensible shoes she has always abhorred. But there is light at the end of this dark and lonely tunnel, and its source is Carsely’s beatific new curate, Tristan Delon. However, there is something odd about the curate, and after he’s found dead in the vicar’s study, it’s up to Agatha to investigate.
- Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House – When her handsome new neighbor, Paul Chatterton, shows up on her doorstep, Agatha tries her best to ignore his obvious charms, but his sparkling black eyes and the promise of adventure soon lure her into another investigation.
- Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance – Agatha soon learns that running her own detective agency in the Cotswolds is not quite like starring in a Raymond Chandler movie. Instead of dames in distress with big shoulder pads, her clients are ladies with missing cats and a man whose son has run off with his car.
- Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon – After being nearly killed by both a hired hit man and her former secretary, Agatha Raisin could use some low-key cases. So when Robert Smedley walks through the door of her detective agency, determined to prove that his wife is cheating on him, Raisin Investigations immediately offers to help.
- Love, Lies and Liquor – Agatha Raisin is lonely and welcomes James return to the cottage next door – especially when he invites her on holiday at… Snoth-on-Sea, in Sussex. But trouble has a way of following Agatha even if romance does not: Just as she and James are preparing to flee to warmer climes, Geraldine Jankers is found dead on the beach – strangled with Agatha’s scarf.
- Kissing Christmas Goodbye – When a wealthy widow hires Agatha because she’s convinced a member of her family is trying to kill her, Agatha is intrigued – especially when the widow drops dead after high tea at the manor house.
- A Spoonful of Poison – The vicar of a nearby village to persuade Agatha to help publicize the church fete. She brings out the crowds for the fete, but several of the offerings in the jam-tasting booth turn out to be poisoned, and the festive family event becomes the scene of two murders.
- There Goes the Bride – Agatha is dreading the upcoming marriage of her ex-husband, James Lacey. Her best intentions to move on with her life are put on hold when James’s young bride is shot to death just minutes before saying ‘I do,’ and Agatha is named the prime suspect.
- Busy Body – Mr. John Sunday, a self-important officer with the Health and Safety Board, has ruled that the traditional tree on top of the church is a public menace, and more… The Carsely Ladies’ Society joins forces with the ladies in the neighboring village of Odley Cruesis to try to put a stop to Mr. Sunday’s meddling – only to find that someone has literally put a stop to him with a kitchen knife.
- As the Pig Turns – After a disappointing Christmas season, the parish council has decided to hold a special event in January with a pig roast. The rotary spit turning over a bed of blazing charcoals is sure to please on this foggy and blistery evening. But as the fog lifts slightly, the sharp-eyed Agatha notices something peculiar about the pig: a tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it and the name Amy.
- Hiss and Hers – Agatha has fallen head over heels in love-again. This time, she has her eye on the local gardener, George Marston. Shamelessly determined, Agatha will do anything to get her man-including footing the bill for a charity ball just for the chance to dance with him. And then she finds his dead body in a compost heap.
- Agatha Raisin and the Christmas Crumble – Short story published in the 20th Anniversary Edition of the ‘A Perfect Paragon’ paperback.
- Hell’s Bells – Another Agatha Raisin Short Story.
- Something Borrowed, Someone Dead – It’s quite the shock when do-gooder Gloria French is found dead, murdered by a poisoned bottle of elderberry wine. Afraid the murder will be a blight on the small town, Parish councillor, Jerry Tarrant, hires private detective Agatha Raisin to track down the murderer.
- The Blood of an Englishman – Even though Agatha Raisin loathes amateur dramatics, her friend Mrs. Bloxby has persuaded her to support the local pantomime. 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. Only he doesn’t re-appear at final curtain.
- Dishing the Dirt – When Agatha learns that therapist Jill Davent had hired a private detective to investigate her background, she barges into Jill’s office and gives her a piece of her mind, yelling ‘I could kill you!’ So when Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days later, Agatha becomes the prime suspect.
- Pushing Up Daisies – Lord Bellington, a wealthy land developer, wants to turn the community garden into a housing estate. So it’s no surprise that some in the town are feeling celebratory when Agatha finds his obituary in the newspaper two weeks later. Except the death was apparently murder, and the police see Bellington’s son Damian as suspect number one – though Agatha finds plenty of others when he hires her to find the real killer.
- The Witches’ Tree – Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead – and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered – and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.
- The Dead Ringer – The idyllic Cotswolds village of Thirk Magna is best known for the medieval church of St. Ethelred and its bells, which are the pride and glory of the whole community. As the bell-ringers get ready for the visit of the dashing Bishop Peter Salver-Hinkley, the whole village is thrown into a frenzy. Meanwhile, Agatha Raisin convinces one of the bell-ringers, the charming lawyer Julian Brody, to hire her to investigate the mystery of the Bishop’s ex-fiancée: a local heiress, Jennifer Toynby, who went missing years ago and whose body was never found…
- Beating About the Bush – When private detective Agatha Raisin comes across a severed leg in a roadside hedge, it looks like she is about to become involved in a particularly gruesome murder. Looks, however, can be deceiving, as Agatha discovers when she is employed to investigate a case of industrial espionage at a factory where nothing is quite what it seems. The factory mystery soon turns to murder and a bad-tempered donkey turns Agatha into a national celebrity, before bringing her ridicule and shame.