Near the end of May, I was in the mood for an easy, comforting read, so I reached for Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M. C. Beaton, the sixth book in Beaton’s long-running, cosy-crime series. While each book is a self-contained mystery, there is the continuing character arc for Agatha running through them all, therefore I recommend checking out the first book, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, if you’re unfamiliar with the series.
Our smart dressing, retired-PR executive Agatha Raisin, having been spurned at the alter, leaves the sleepy Cotswold village of Carsely in hot pursuit of her fleeing fiancé James Lacey to Northern Cyprus, where they had planned to honeymoon. Instead of the passionate reunion in the sun she had hoped for though, Agatha ends up playing a pathetic game of cat and mouse with the irritated James. Until they are both awkwardly thrown together by the murder of obnoxious British tourist, Rose Wilcox in a disco. Can they put aside their troubles to solve this mystery, especially as Agatha’s life seems to be in danger?
Our poor Agatha is at her most cringeworthy in this book, as she pathetically chases after James. I’ve never particularly liked him because he was always distant but now he is down-right cold and quite callous. I really felt for the heartsore Agatha, especially as she is far away from the support of her good friends and is instead surrounded by an odious group of British tourists – Anyone of which could be the murderer, who is trying to bump her off next. So I was thankful for the return of the dapper Sir Charles Fraith (from the Walkers of Dembley mystery), as a much needed friendly face, ally and a second love interest for Agatha.
With all of this emotional turmoil for Agatha and with the mystery taking place miles away from the usual, charming setting of Carsely, this was a little less comforting read for me. Agatha’s amateur investigation is as eccentric and bumbling as ever, but there is a more darker sense of urgency with the attempts on Agatha’s life and the lack of support and protection from James. In fact, James is almost as much use as a chocolate tea-cup! Fortunately, we have the well-meaning, if not always useful, support of Sir Charles and his rakish, bill-dodging antics to make us smile.
While perhaps not quite as comforting as previous instalments in the series, Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist is another quick, easy and fun cosy-crime. At first I thought this was a re-read, however the further I got into the twists and turns, I had no idea what was coming. So either my memory is worse than I thought or I never actually read/finished this. Next up is Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death. Good read.
Have you read this? Have you read any other cosy-crime recently?