Pushing Up Daisies (Agatha Raisin)
by M.C. Beaton
Cover Artist: Gate by Cattallina / Shutterstock;
Man by Edvard Molnar / Shutterstock;
Tree by Olivier Le Moal / Shutterstock.
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250057440
Date: 20 September 2016 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
M.C. Beaton continues her reign as Queen of the British Cozy with her latest, zaniest Agatha Raisin mystery, Pushing Up Daisies. This time around, she investigates the death of a horrid, abusive, pompous man, Lord Bellington. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when he died. As for me, I was hoping his killer would never be found. Unfortunately, one murder seems to lead to another. Beaton hasn't lost her sense of the gruesome and macabre, as evidenced by the discovery of one victim who has been decapitated.
As with Beaton's previous novels, I found myself laughing out loud while reading Pushing Up Daisies. For example, Lord Bellington had an ugly mistress, Mrs. Bull, who resembled a gargoyle. When questioned by Agatha, she said: "[Lord Bellington] screwed me rotten when he was drunk." Obsessed with her own appearance, Agatha can't understand why some less attractive women are more sexually active than her. However, her life becomes more complicated when she has a one-night stand with a young Adonis--Jake Isle--whom she has recently employed. It often appears that the indecisive Agatha doesn't know if she wants sex or romance.
Agatha still finds herself attracted to the younger Sir Charles Fraith. She feels pangs of jealousy upon discovering that he is engaged to the wealthy Olivia Huntington. Of course Charles is only marrying her for money. He needs it for maintaining his estate, an enormous eyesore. In the past few novels, Charles and Agatha have been spending a great deal of time sleuthing together, more so than she ever did with her ex-husband, James Lacey, and former employee, Roy Silver.
While Agatha remains her usual self (i.e., always craving alcohol, cigarettes and men), the vicar's wife, Mrs. Bloxby, has changed tremendously. She has developed a crush on Carsely's newest resident, Gerald Devere, a former detective; she begins sporting a new hairstyle and more fashionable clothing. Never one to forego competition in the love arena (even if the competitor is her best friend), Agatha hires Gerald to assist her in discovering who killed Lord Bellington.
The mystery within Pushing Up Daisies is your typical one for a cozy: Who killed the town's biggest asshole? It is overshadowed by Agatha's crazy, zany, hilarious life. When reading one of her novels, fans are guaranteed to meet a wide assortment of bizarre characters and experience some rib-hurting laughter. An M.C. Beaton mystery always helps me relieve stress. Pushing Up Daisies came at an opportune time: during the 2016 Presidential Election.