I told a good friend of mine that I indulged in the guilty pleasure of reading these books. She looked at me aghast and told me at length how members of the Cosy Crime Corner shun Beaton books in general and the Agatha Raisin series in particular. I had to point out, equally at length, that I was under no illusion that these were good books. Sometimes I just wanted/needed to take my brain out and read some drivel. That’s where these books come in.
At the end of the previous instalment, Agatha’s planned marriage to her dashing neighbour James Lacey had gone awry. He had taken off to Cyprus to try and put the latest murder fuelled disaster behind him. Agatha followed him, in an attempt to rekindle things with him. And so we begin with The Terrible Tourist.
Agatha finds James, but only after falling in with a close knit bunch of Brits, all of whom are varying degrees of obnoxious. When one of them, the most hideous (Horrible Tourist would have been a more fitting title, but of course that doesn’t alliterate) turns up dead, it’s a case of same shit, different location as Agatha and James try to solve the murder and how they feel about each other.
It really isn’t the most artfully constructed of books, even for one of this series. It feels like a first draft. Choice writing such as “‘So how are things back home?’ asked Agatha, wondering now what James was making of her disappearance and feeling uncomfortably that she had behaved badly”. The book is padded with a lot of information about Cyprus, so it almost doubles as a tour guide in places. Most unforgivable, again, is the reveal of the murderer. A lot revolves around identifying the unusual weapon used to off the tourist. When it IS identified, it’s quite clear that it would have been staring Agatha in the face the whole time, it’s just never mentioned by Beaton prior to the big reveal.
And yet, with all of that, I’m still going to read the next in the series, Agatha Raisin & The Wellspring of Death. Oh yes.