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Saturday, 23 June 2012

Book Review - The Walkers of Dembley

I've been enjoying this genre lately - they call it cozy crime but in the case of the Agatha Raisin series it is the characters who power the narrative rather than the crime. I found the murder itself easy to solve and had guessed who the killer was by the half way point, but it didn't matter. Indeed I could have kept on reading another hundred or so pages after the denouncement just to keep up with the characters.

I came about Agatha Raisin in a roundabout way - I was working on a project in the cozy crime genre and one day while browsing in my local Works, I came across a BBC CD of The Quiche of Death, the first Agatha Raisin novel - the story had been fully dramatized and starred the great Penelope Keith in the title role. The play was excellent and I quickly bought several other Agatha Raisin plays on CD until I had exhausted the radio series....which set me off in search of the original books.

In years gone by I would have had to trudge around several bookshops while the UK summer did its usual thing, pissed down. But instead it was a quick trip up the Amazon where I got the first book in the series for my Kindle for less than a pound. Subsequent books are priced higher but the eBooks are cheaper than paperbacks so that's very very fair.

Radio 4's Agatha
Which brings me to the fourth book in the series - As I've said the brilliance of these books is in the characters - Agatha is a mad hungry.chain smoking, amateur sleuth who is often accompanied by her handsome next door neighbor, James Lacey of whom she has a massive crush on. James though is not interested in romance and just wants to finish the book he is writing on the peninsular wars. The two are often aided by the policeman Bill Wong who is, apart from a few twists,  the typical English bobby and could have stepped from an Ealing comedy. These are the core characters but there are many regular secondary characters who add colour to these charming adventures. Mrs Bloxby is a favorite as are the Boggles -  pensioners from Hell.

It's all good, easy to read stuff, with a group of characters that really do live and breathe on the page. OK stereotypes are often used, but it matters not because in Agatha Raisin's slightly surreal world everything makes perfect sense, each and every aspect slots together to form a perfect whole.

I'm now hooked on this series and have read the first four titles in a matter of weeks - I'll be starting the next one soon. It's already downloaded and sitting in my Kindle archive

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