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The Blood of an Englishman (Agatha Raisin) by M.C. Beaton
Cover Artist: Tierney and Wood
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312616267
Date: 16 September 2014 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Agatha Raisin attends the pantomime performance of Babes in the Woods at Winter Parva's community playhouse; she witnesses the gruesome death of one of the performers. While rapidly descending downward through a trap door, Bert Simple had his genitals speared by a spike. Soon afterwards, another equally disturbing murder follows. With the help of employees from her detective agency, her friend Sir Charles Fraith, and a couple of new loves in her life, Agatha searches for the killer. Unfortunately, she suffers a broken heart and several attempts on her life before solving one of the most macabre cases in her career.

The Blood of an Englishman is highly apropos for commemorating M.C. Beaton's twenty-five years of writing the unique Agatha Raisin series. The highly libidinous and cynical Agatha Raisin is more man hungry and waspish than ever. She falls in lust with several men but they only want her for financial gain or to use her as a conversation piece at parties because she's become a detective celebrity. Most all of the main characters (including the prim and proper James Lacy, the flighty Sir Charles Fraith, and the highly effeminate Roy Silver) from her previous novels have returned, if only briefly.

Agatha lives in the bucolic Cotswold village of Carsely. However, she returns to the nearby picturesque village of Winter Parva. This is the same village where, in her previous adventure, As The Pig Turns, a police officer was beheaded and his naked body rotated on a spit above a fire. Winter Parva appears to be the home for macabre murders--the type of village about which Stephen King would love to write. Its strange residents hide many secrets. A fast-paced novel with numerous characters, The Blood of an Englishman has enough murder and mayhem for two novels. In true Agatha Christie fashion, there are several murders and everyone is guilty of something.

As stated earlier, The Blood of an Englishman is the twenty-fifth Agatha Raisin novel. It is considered a cozy mystery series in that graphic depictions of the actual murders are not provided; there is a great deal of humor, romance, and soap opera-like drama; and there is a multitude of long-standing characters. This is one continuous series that is best enjoyed when read from the beginning. The plots build upon one another. Those readers who begin in the middle or towards the end will complain about a lack of character development. After reading As The Pig Turns, I began reading the series from the first novel, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Faithful fans will most definitely want to read Agatha Raisin's latest adventure, The Blood of an Englishman. Agatha Raisin is up to her ears in murder, mayhem and men. Will she be getting married again? I'm not saying. I will say, however, that the novel ends with a peculiar cliff hanger. Until M.C. Beaton's next Agatha Raisin novel is published, I still have some of her older ones to keep me occupied. Also, I was excited to learn that the British television channel, Sky 1 HD, has begun producing Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death. It is scheduled to air around Christmas. I hope the entire series of novels will be made into television films and eventually become available on DVD in the United States.

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