This week’s Three on Thursday are three books that I have read this week. (I read quickly), also when better to blog about books than on World Book Day.
I read three crime books this week, by two women who have been dubbed “Queens of Crime”. Read on to find out what I thought.
First up I read the most recent in the Agatha Raisin series by M.C. Beaton. I once read all of the books in the series (at the time there were 21 of them) in a week. Blood of an Englishman is the 24th book in the series. If you don’t know the series, Agatha is a 50 something retired P.R executive who sold her business to move to the Cotswolds, after accidentally solving rather a large number of murders (seemingly, the death rate in the Cotswold is higher than that in Midsomer), she eventually sets up a Detective Agency (as you do) and has a tendency to fall in and out of love a number of times throughout the series.
The back of the book sets the scene:
He’s behind you, Agatha!
Even though Agatha Raisin detests Christmas panto, her friend Mrs Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, has persuaded her to support the local amateur dramatic society in their festive offering.
Stifling a yawn at the production of Babes in the Wood, Agatha watches the local baker, playing the ogre, strut and threaten on stage until a trapdoor opens … followed by a scream and silence!
Surely this wasn’t the way the scene was rehearsed? And when it turns out the baker has been murdered most horribly, Agatha puts her team of detectives on the case. They very soon discover more feuds and temperamental behaviour in amateur dramatics than in a professional stage show – and face more danger as they get too close to the killer…
Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy this book, I used to love the Agatha Raisin mysteries but for me, they lost some of the charm once the Agatha Raisin Detective Agency was opened a number of books ago. I heard a rumour last year that M.C. Beaton has a ghost writer now and it wouldn’t really suprise me if that were true as they lack some of the story telling that made them the perfect cosy crime story (and often were compared to Christie’s Marple) . This story bordered on farcical at times and I found myself wondering why the police didn’t continually arrest her for wasting police time and obstructing the course of justice repeatedly.
That said, as always these stories are an easy read and quite pleasant if you don’t think too much about the actual story, having invested so much of my time in the whole series I always enjoy catching up with Agatha and her hazardous love life. It lacked some originality but all in all, if you are looking for a quick and easy read to settle down with on a winter night then this is worth a read.
Next up I read By the Pricking of My Thumbs by Agatha Christie – the undisputed queen of crime I’d say.
Agatha Christie is probably one of my favourite authors, I love Miss Marple and Poirot and have amassed quite a collection of her novels. The back of the book tells us:
Tommy and Tuppence Beresford visit an unpleasant aunt in a home. From the typically unlikely beginning, murder and all kinds of excitement develop, to the point when Mrs Beresford meets the mass killer in the secret room of the house.
I really enjoyed this book, it only took me an hour or so to read, it’s a relatively short story. Tommy and Tuppence have featured in books before where they solved a number of mysteries together. There is a little foreword from Agatha Christie in the front of the book:
This book is dedicated to the many readers in this and other countries who write to me asking “What has happened to Tommy and Tuppence? What are they doing now?” My best wishes to you all, and I hope you will enjoy meeting Tommy and Tuppence again, years older, but with spirit unquenched!
At times I found the story a little hard to follow, with a few mysteries going on at the same time. Tuppence becomes intrigued with the disappearance of Mrs Lancaster and a mysterious painting that is given to Tommy’s aunt. Tuppence is determined to get to the bottom of it and finds rather more than she bargained for. I once saw this story turned into a television programme, where the producers had added Miss Marple to the story (she doesn’t appear in this book whatsoever) so I admit that I did keep expecting Miss Marple to appear and was maybe a little disappointed that she didn’t!
You should totally give this book a try, it won’t take long to finish and is well worth the read.
Last up, I decided on another Agatha Christie books, one of my favourites actually that I have read a few times – The Body in the Library.
I think if pushed, I would admit to preferring Miss Marple to Poirot. Her way of pointing people in the right direction whilst appearing fluffy and doddery has always been wonderful to me. The back of the book states:
When the Bantry’s wake to find the body of a beautiful, young stranger in their library, Dolly Bantry knows there’s only one person to call: her old friend Miss Marple.
Who was the young girl? What was she doing in the library? And is there a connection with another dead girl, whose charred remains are discovered in an abandoned quarry?
Miss Marple must solve the mystery, before tongues start to wag, and the murderer strikers again.
This book is so easy to read and the mystery of the murder is really intriguing and even though this is my third read of it, the story is still really impressive and a great little read.
What books have you read lately? What should I read next? Let me know below.