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M. C. Beaton is a alias for well liked and productive novelist Marion Chesney. As Beaton, Chesney at present writes two modern day Mystery series. One about amateur and eventually private investigator Agatha Raisin, and the second features Scottish police detective Hamish Macbeth. Both present readers a blend of enjoyable unconventional individuals delightful surroundings and well created plots.
Beaton’s convincingly idiosyncratic characters are one of the allures of her books. Introduced in Death of a Gossip, Warner Books, 1999, Macbeth is the total police force for Lochdubh, but auspiciously for the people of that created Scottish Highlands community Macbeth has an almost supernatural gift for solving of crime wrongdoing. He furthermore has enough common sense to find clever methods to conceal his talents to get out of advancement to a position in a larger city.
After a number of years of concocting diverse cases of homicide for Macbeth, Chesney started a new series centering on fifty something Agatha Raisin. In Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, St. Martin’s, 2006, Raisin retires from her career as head of a London public relations agency to achieve her ambition of residing in the countryside. Once she arrives her new home of Carsley, she realizes a small village is not what she anticipated. Raisin is a perversely intricate character She can be assertive, condescending, and mulish yet also amazingly sympathetic unselfish and smart. These varied qualities give Raisin a stimulating depth of individuality that plays a part to her charm.
Beaton creates original methods to eradicate people, but in the tradition of classic Mysteries, she is fair about placing hints to the true killer within the plot.
One layer of appeal to Beaton’s books is the vibrantly meticulous locations of both series. The strong quantity of wit in Beaton’s novels also improves their draw. Christie’s series Jane Marple has numerous characteristics with Agatha Raisin, including a keen if gentler milder sense of wit, and a quick brain for getting to the bottom of mysteries. Try The Murder at the Vicarage, Harper, 2002, in which Miss Marple must discover who killed the repugnant Colonel Prothero. Brown’s novels have the same soothing and romanticized location, full cast of unique secondary characters, and touch of romance found in Beaton’s Macbeth books. The series begins with Wish You Were Here, Bantam, 1991, in which Mary, the postmistress, assumes the additional responsibility of amateur sleuth after people in the town commence dying after receiving “wish you were here” postcards. Aird’s well well known conventional Mystery series features Detective Inspector C. D. (“Seedy”) Sloan and Detective Constable Crosby. Macbeth readers will find the same mixture of components in Aird’s books. With cunningly written plots, a splendidly (if rather romanticized) British setting, and a police man who solves murders while also battling with an annoying superior that give Beaton’s Macbeth novels their tempting literary flavor.
Katherine Hall Page, provides the model British Mystery a up to date American twist. Her books highlighting wife/mother/caterer Faith Sibley Fairchild are one more good choice, in particular for Beaton’s Raisin readers. The Fairchild series has a comparable mixture of witty prose and original characters to those found in Beaton’s books. Page effectively converts the tight social circle of the English village into her own small New England town of Aleford, MA. Begin with The Body in the Belfry, Avon, 1991, in which Faith must find out who put the dead body of a good looking blackmailer in the church belfry.
Caroline Graham’s Mystery series featuring Chief Inspector Tom Barnaby and his irritating assistant Sergeant Troy is another excellent suggestion for Beaton readers. Not only do Graham’s novels have the unchanged classic small British village setting and cast of eccentric characters, but her stories are liberally spiced with the invariable acerbic sense of British humor that gives Beaton’s novels their unique flavor Try Graham’s Death of a Hollow Man, Felony Mayhem, 2006, as an beginning to the series.