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Showing posts by: M. C. Beaton click to see M. C. Beaton's profile
Jun 21 2017 10:00am

M. C. Beaton Excerpt: The Witches’ Tree

M. C. Beaton

The Witches Tree by M. C. BeatonThe Witches' Tree by M. C. Beaton is the 28th book in the Agatha Raisin series (available October 7, 2017).

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar, and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead—and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered—and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds—a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation—and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn't make her feel any better...

[Read an excerpt from The Witches' Tree...]

Dec 22 2015 11:00am

Christmas Crumble: Holiday Excerpt

M. C. Beaton

Christmas Crumble by M.C. Beaton is an Agatha Raisin short story centered around a holiday dinner party and a death by dessert (Available for only $0.99 below).

At home alone for the holidays, Agatha Raisin decides to host a dinner party for the elder residents in her Cotswold village of Winter Parva. Agatha's never been much of a homemaker, but she's dead-set on making this the perfect holiday for the “crumblies,” as she affectionately calls them. She's decorated a tree while fending off her cats Hodge and Boswell, and even made a (lumpy) Christmas pudding in between swigs of rum. But when Agatha dumps the pudding on the head of the local self-proclaimed lothario—an eighty-five year old with a beer belly and fingers like sausages—his death by dessert proves more than a trifle as mysteries mount higher than the season's snowfall. So much for trying to do good by her neighbors. Now Agatha needs no less than a Christmas miracle to get herself out of this one...

Part One

Agatha Raisin, private detective, and her friend Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, sat in the shabby vicarage drawing room in the Cotswold village of Carsely one Saturday in late November, drinking coffee and looking out at a vista of sleety rain driving across the tombstones of the churchyard at the end of the garden.

“Are you going away for Christmas, Mrs. Raisin?” asked Mrs. Bloxby. Both women still addressed each other by their surnames, a fashion started in the now defunct Ladies Society but which they kept up.

“I might have a Christmas party here,” said Agatha.

“But you tried that before!” exclaimed Mrs. Bloxby.

[Read more from Christmas Crumble here...]

Dec 18 2015 11:00am

Kissing Christmas Goodbye: Holiday Excerpt

M. C. Beaton

Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton is a Christmas mystery and number 18 in the Agatha Raisin Mystery series. 

Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she'll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: the upcoming Christmas festivities and her ex, James Lacey. This year she is sure that if she invites James to a really splendid, old-fashioned Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log.

When a wealthy widow hires Agatha because she's convinced a member of her family is trying to kill her, Agatha is intrigued—-especially when the widow drops dead after high tea at the manor house. Who in this rather sterile house, complete with fake family portraits, could have hated the old lady enough to poison her?

Agatha sets out to find the murderer, all the while managing a pretty, teenage trainee who makes her feel old and planning for a picture-perfect Christmas, with James, all the trimmings, and perhaps even snow.


AGATHA RAISIN was bored.

Her detective agency in the English Cotswolds was thriving, but the cases were all small, niggling and unexciting, and yet took a great deal of time to solve. She sometimes felt if she had to deal with another missing cat or dog, she would scream.

Dreams and fantasies, that cushion she usually had against the realities of life, had, to her astonished mind, disappeared entirely. She had dreamed so long about her neighbour and ex-husband, James Lacey, that she would not accept the fact that she did not love him any more. She thought of him angrily as some sort of drug that had ceased to work.

So although it was only early October, she tried to fill her mind with thoughts of Christmas. Unlike quite a number of people, Agatha had not given up on Christmas. To have the perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream whilst surviving a rough upbringing in a Birmingham slum. Holly berries glistened, snow fell gently outside, and inside, all was Dickensian jollity. And in her dreams, James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and, like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more.

[Read more of Kissing Christmas Goodbye here...]

Sep 10 2015 9:00am

Dishing the Dirt: New Excerpt

M. C. Beaton

Dishing the Dirt by M.C. Beaton is the 26th cozy in the Agatha Raisin mystery series, and this time she must save her own skin (available September 15, 2015).

When therapist Jill Davent moved to the village of Carsely, Agatha Raisin was not a fan. Not only was this therapist romancing Agatha's ex-husband but she dug up details of Agatha's not-too-glamorous origins. Jill also counsels a woman, Gwen Simple, that Agatha firmly believes assisted her son in some grisly murders, although there is no proof. Not one to keep her feelings to herself, Agatha tells anyone that would listen that Jill is a charlatan and better off dead. Agatha could only sigh with relief when the therapist took an office in Mircester.

When Agatha learns that Jill had hired a private detective to investigate her background, she barges into Jill's office and gives her a piece of her mind, yelling “I could kill you!” So when Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days later, Agatha becomes the prime suspect. But Agatha, along with her team of private detectives, is determined to prove her innocence and find the real culprit. This time Agatha must use her skills to save her own skin.

Chapter One

After a dismal grey winter, spring came to the village of Carsely in the Cotswolds, bringing blossoms, blue skies and warm breezes.

But somewhere, in the heart of one private detective, Agatha Raisin, storms were brewing.

[Continue reading Dishing the Dirt by M.C. Beaton...]

Sep 12 2012 1:00pm

Hiss and Hers: An Agatha Raisin Mystery: New Excerpt

M. C. Beaton

Hiss and Hers: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. BeatonAn excerpt of Hiss and Hers by M.C. Beaton, which celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Cotswold village sleuth Agatha Raisin with another humorous mystery, this time involving a very attractive, then very dead, local gardener (available September 18, 2012).

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Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of everyone’s favorite sleuth, M. C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin is as feisty as ever—armed with her famous wit and biting sense of humor. This time, though, there’s some biting of a whole other sort going on. Agatha has fallen head over heels in love—again. This time, she has her eye on the local gardener, George Marston, but so do other women in their little Cotswold village. Shamelessly determined, Agatha will do anything to get her man—including footing the bill for a charity ball just for the chance to dance with him. And then George doesn’t even show up. Only partly deterred, Agatha goes looking for him, and finds his dead body in a compost heap. Murder is definitely afoot, but this killer chose no ordinary weapon: A poisonous snake delivered the fatal strike.

Rising to the occasion, Agatha rallies her little detective agency to find the killer, only to learn that George had quite a complicated love life. But murderously complicated? Well, if she can’t have George, at least Agatha can have the satisfaction of confronting the other women and solving the crime.

Chapter 1

Agatha Raisin, private detective, was in the grip of a great obsession. Her friend, the vicar’s wife, Mrs. Bloxby, reflected sadly that Agatha, a normally shrewd woman, seemed to lose her wits when she fell in love.

For Agatha had fallen for the village of Carsely’s gar­dener and odd-job man, George Marston. He had worked on her garden until it was into shape and then Agatha, to Mrs. Bloxby’s horror, had smashed up her perfectly good bookshelves in order to employ him again doing carpentry.

[Read the full excerpt of Hiss and Hers by M.C. Beaton . . .]

Oct 4 2011 11:40am

As the Pig Turns: New Excerpt

M. C. Beaton

As the Pig Turns by M. C. Beaton

Winter Parva is a “picturesque” (touristy) Cotswold village with gift shops, a mediaeval market hall, and thatched cottages. After a disappointing Christmas season, the parish council has decided to hold a special event in January, complete with old-fashioned costumes, morris dancing, and a pig roast on the village green. 

Always one for a good roasting, Agatha Raisin organizes an outing to enjoy the merriment. The rotary spit turning over a bed of blazing charcoals is sure to please on this foggy and blistery evening. But as the fog lifts slightly, the sharp-eyed Agatha notices something peculiar about the pig: a tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it and the name Amy.

The “pig,” in fact, is Gary Beech, a policeman not exactly beloved by the locals, including Agatha herself.  Although Agatha has every intention of leaving matters to the police, everything changes when the Gary’s ex-wife, Amy, hires Agatha’s detective agency to investigate—and another murder ensues. With that provocation, how could any sleuth as vain and competitive (and secretly insecure) as Agatha do anything other than solve the case herself?  


Chapter 1

Agatha Raisin wearily turned onto the road leading down into her home village of Carsely in the Cotswolds and then came to an abrupt halt. Cars stretched out in front of her. She pulled on the handbrake.

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