M C Beaton is the creator of Hamish Macbeth, has sold more than 15 million books and is the most-borrowed adult author from British libraries. So why isn’t she the household name that she so richly deserves to be? 

Agatha Raisin Digging the Dirt

Agatha Raisin: Dishing the Dirt by M C Beaton

One reason, perhaps, is that her books are often dismissed as “cosy”, even though a) there’s nothing wrong with cosy anyway; and b) they’re actually far stranger and much more fun than that.

Take, for example, her other long-running detective Agatha Raisin, who solves murder mysteries in the Cotswolds village of Carsley—and who might be mistaken for a slightly younger Miss Marple if she weren’t quite so fond of booze, cigarettes and having crushes on wildly unsuitable men. 

In this latest adventure, Carsley once more gives Midsomer a run for its money as the murder capital of Britain.

The murder plot is only one of the pleasures on offer, along with social comedy, both affectionate and vicious satire on village life and a rather rueful meditation on ageing. And all the time, of course, Agatha remains as much of an irresistible life force as ever. 
 

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