Book info

The Quiche Of Death (2006)

The Quiche of Death (2006)
Author
Rating
3.76 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
0312939167 (ISBN13: 9780312939168)
languge
English
series
genre
publisher
st. martin's paperbacks
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The Quiche Of Death (2006)
The Quiche Of Death (2006)

About book: I've heard quite a bit about Agatha Raisin, here and there. Everyone loves her, from what I've seen, and I've read a little bit of M.C. Beaton's other series, so I paperbackswapped the first Agatha.Hm.It always irritates me when the blurb on the back reveals the first victim, and often details of the murder. I understand the need to pull a reader in, but – especially in this case – it seems to obviate the need to read the first seventy-five pages or so.The idea is that Agatha Raisin, socially inept public relations mogul, sells her company and fulfills a childhood dream of moving to the Cotswolds (because it's so pretty there), but finds that her high-powered tight-focus personality is much less comfortable there than it was in London; her alienation from other people is much more obvious to her now that she has removed herself from the hectic lifestyle she's always been used to. She has no friends, and doesn't know how to make them, as any social skills she ever had have atrophied. Her first efforts to start to break into the society include entering a ringer into a village cooking contest: hearing that Mrs. ( ) always wins, and not quite grasping the implication behind the fact that Mrs. ( ) is the judge's mistress, she returns to London, buys a quiche from a shop renowned for same, rewraps it, and enters it in her own name.The gist of all of this is included in the blurb. Also included? The quiche that Agatha enters is snubbed, and then the judge dies, poisoned by the losing dish.There has to be some amount of information about the case in the blurb; there has to be some reason for someone to pick up the book and start reading. This seemed excessive, though: there's a fine, fine line between "intriguing" and "thanks, I don't need to read it now". I think this is part of why I nearly put the book down several times in the first 75 pages.That, and I just don't like Agatha Raisin.I'm not supposed to, obviously; she's horrid, and is written that way. I tend to be impatient with main characters like that; I don't ask that every protagonist be warm and cuddly, but there has to be some attractive or interesting trait to keep me involved; I have an obscene number of books on my TBR list, and why should I spend time with someone I don't like? If Agatha was a bitch on wheels but bitchily funny, I think I'd be happy. If there was just some redeeming quality, it would be better… instead, though, she decides to pull a tacky, petty cheap trick, and is angry when it doesn't work – and grouses about it.Yech.I get it – she's supposed to be socially inept, and this was the way she's learned over the years to deal with situations in her job in London: she has made her way through life and business forcing her will upon others. And the idea is that her retirement and new environment work changes on her, as she decides how to go about the rest of her life. Got it. By the end of the book I in fact didn't dislike her nearly so much, so – well done, both Agatha and M.C. Beaton. But still.If this is an example of the sort of mystery the series will feature, that would be another reason I won't make strenuous effort to expand the Agatha Raisin section of my library. It was muddled and confused; it's standard operating procedure in a mystery story for one suspect after another to come to the fore and be discounted – see any episode of almost any tv show featuring a cop. But this was a meandering sort of is-it isn't-it hit-or-miss investigation – which I suppose it was intended to be given that Agatha wasn't supposed to be and didn't intend to be investigating – with one vital piece of information withheld until nearly the end. I usually read mysteries more for character than the puzzle, but in this case I enjoyed neither.I really should be happy I didn't love it; I have enough books on my to-be-read list now, I didn't need to add this whole series to it.(Right after finishing, I posted the following on Goodreads:I disliked the first half; I didn't expect to rate it as high as three stars, but it picked up in the second. I'm still not a fan, though; the writing isn't what I had expected: if Roy had "shrieked" (or "shrieked with laughter") or his friend Steve had said something "ponderously" one more time *I* would have shrieked. I will say that the eminently unlikeable Agatha is redeemed a bit by the end, by natural degrees and not completely, which is to say rather realistically - which is good, because I wanted to stuff several poisoned quiches down her throat at the beginning. Actually, with the possible exception of Bill Wong and the kitten I think I would have happily poisoned everyone in the book... It was curiosity and a great apathy for the other book I was reading that kept me going to the end, and I have a feeling those are the circumstances under which I'll pick up another M.C. Beaton.)

Questo romanzo appartiene di sicuro alla tipologia dei cozy mysteries, gialli che tendono ad evitare, minimizzare o trattare in modo umoristico i temi del sesso e della violenza, e che sono ambientati in comunità piccole e socialmente intime (la definizione è ripresa pari pari dalla pagina di wikipedia). Stranamente ero convinta che si trattasse di un libro molto, molto più vecchio (forse perché in Italia è pubblicato dalla meravigliosa casa editrice Astoria, che in linea di massima si occupa di autori più datati?) e quando ho iniziato la lettura mi sono stranita quando ho realizzato che Agatha, da brava donna in carriera, non sa cucinare e sopravvive grazie ai pasti pronti surgelati e al microonde. Il libro infatti è stato pubblicato negli anni Novanta, quindi piuttosto recente, anche se da allora l'autrice è riuscita ad arrivare addirittura al ventitreesimo libro della serie, per mio sommo diletto, dato che ho adorato questo.Agatha Raisin è una donna di mezza età che ha dedicato tutte le sue energie a crearsi una vita migliore di quella dei suoi genitori, poveri ma soprattutto alcolizzati. Scappata appena possibile da Edimburgo, a Londra Agatha è riuscita a mantenersi agli studi e poi ad aprire un'agenzia di PR con grande successo, al punto che ora può realizzare il sogno di una vita: ritirarsi e trasferirsi nei Cotswolds, una zona collinare dell'Inghilterra molto famosa per i suoi caratteristici cottage. Mi ha divertito molto l'approccio al trasferimento della protagonista: una volta venduta la sua agenzia ad una molto più grossa, Agatha acquista un cottage, assume un arredatore che le riempia la casa di mobili e una ditta di traslochi che si occupa perfino di riporre i libri sugli scaffali. Quando arriva nel villaggio di Carsely, ad Agatha non rimane nulla da fare, se non 'rubare' la donna di servizio alla vicina. Decisamente è una donna abituata a risolvere i problemi trovando chi è in grado di farlo e pagandolo bene, e nei pochi casi in cui questo metodo non si applica, applicando una testata alternanza di lusinghe e minacce. A un certo punto del romanzo Agatha si rende conto che il suo approccio, per quanto di successo in campo lavorativo, non è il massimo se desidera crearsi una vita sociale, però prima di raggiungere questa illuminazione avrà il tempo di fare la sua buona dose di figuracce, incluso partecipare a una competizione di cucina con una quiche comprata, che poi finisce per coinvolgerla in un omicidio o apparente tale, che Agatha stessa si impegna in prima persona a risolvere.Devo ammettere che all'inizio la scoperta di un'ambientazione più moderna di quello che credevo e l'incontro con una protagonista poco accattivante mi ha un po' deluso. Non potevo credere di avere fra le mani una protagonista che, pur avendo ampie disponibilità di soldi e tempo, non si prende neppure la briga di comperarsi i mobili per la casa e affida carta bianca a un arredatore. Non solo, una donna che sembra non essere in grado nemmeno di cucinare una bistecca, un uovo, o un caffè che non sia liofilizzato, e che al primo apparire della polvere sul tavolino del soggiorno si alza e va ad 'adescare' la donna di servizio della vicina. Eppure già dopo poche pagine, Agatha mi ha conquistato con la sua testardaggine, la sua capacità organizzativa e la sua ingenuità nei rituali sociali. La parte gialla è forse un po' deludente, se siete il tipo di persona che si aspetta una certa coerenza e un certo livello di coinvolgimento. Ho trovato le investigazioni davvero sciatte (anche se forse questo è voluto dall'autrice, in fin dei conti parliamo di un paesino talmente piccolo che il comune nemmeno ci manda lo spazzaneve d'inverno) ma soprattutto le modalità operative dell'assassino poco poco credibili. Ovviamente non posso dire di più ma se avete letto o leggerete fatemi sapere che cosa ne pensate...http://robertabookshelf.blogspot.it/2...
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Reviews
Penny
This is a mystery set in the Cotswolds with a middle aged woman as the protagonist.I found the first half of this book very dull and very slow. Agatha Raisin is rude and obnoxious - so I quite liked her - which kept me reading and in the end I am glad I did. The mystery really picks up in the second half of the book and while I wouldnt rate it as the best I would read another. Perhaps the author was being very thorough at setting the scene of the village with its various inhabitants so that in future books we meet up with the same characters. It is definitely a mystery of the 'cosy' variety with plenty of garden gnomes and cooking but still worth a look.
CatarinaG
Agatha Raisin reformou-se aos 50 duma empresa de relações públicas, e resolveu comprar uma casita de campo em Carsely, nos arredores de Londres.Não tem jeito nenhum para a jardinagem, não tem lá muito jeito para socializar, nem para cozinhar, nem para o ritmo pacato das vilórias. Sente falta do movimento da cidade e já nem sabe muito bem como é que aqui veio parar... Isto só pode dar bom resultado! lolPara se integrar (ou afirmar como 'estrangeira') começa por tentar aldrabar um concurso local concorrendo com uma Quiche comprada numa 'delicatessen store XPTO' da capital em vez de a cozinhar ela própria. Quando um membro do júri morre por provar a quiche as coisas não vão correr muito bem para Agatha que, consciente da sua inocência, resolve começar a meter o bedelho onde não deve.Esta vila vai adorar a Agatha!E eu achei tanta piada a este início de série despreocupada, rápida de ler (os livritos pouco passam das 100 páginas) e despretensiosa, que vou continuar a despachar os 22 que ali tenho.Fez-me lembrar assim um pouco uma mistura de Jessica Fletcher (da série de TV "Murder, She Wrote") com a vida da aldeia dos livros da série Mitford (da Jan Karon). :)
Christine
I am aware this is a minority view, but I hated this. Sorry to upset the author and her many fans, but I would go so far as to say this has no literary merit whatsoever. Poorly delineated characters fail to rise above the level of caricature and the plot is ridiculous – there’s no suspension of belief, willing or unwilling. The language is dull, pedestrian and uninspired and the vocabulary limited. Perhaps I've missed the point and its really some of kind of bad joke?Anyway, I suppose I had better give some kind of resume of the story: our heroine Agatha Raisin (named, I assume, as an homage to crime queen Agatha Christie) has sold her London PR company and retired, in her early fifties, to the kind of Cotswold village that exists only in Sunday night feel-good TV series.Determined to fit in with rural life Agatha, who is peculiarly charmless, enters a bought quiche in a competition at the village fete - but the judge dies after eating it, and tests reveal he was poisoned by cowbane. No-one knows how the plant got into the quiche, so an inquest returns a verdict of accidental death but Agatha, exposed as a cookery cheat, sets about sleuthing in the hopes that if she finds the murder she will gain the respect of the villagers.In the course of her investigations Agatha stumbles across the answers she seeks by accident rather than design. She lacks Miss Marple’s razor-sharp wit and knowledge of human nature, or Hercule Poirot’s ‘little grey cells’, or Cadfael’s warm humanity and attention to detail. Tenacity is her greatest attribute. She may not give up on her cases, but I certainly wanted to give up on this books.(Full review athttp://chriscross-thebooktrunk.blogsp...)
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