Review

As the Pig Turns: An Agatha Raisin Mystery

by M. C. Beaton

The acerbic Cotswold detective Agatha Raisin has been accused of many things, but they are usually associated with her being short-tempered, sharp-tongued and eccentric. Now she’s accused of murder, all because of being served a ticket by the village’s most unpopular police officer for blowing her nose in her car in a line of traffic. Officer Gary Beech, whose attitude exceeds Agatha at her worst, had already irked several other local residents, and he confronted Agatha on a bad day. A few days later, he ticketed her a second time for going two miles over the speed limit, which caused her to stomp into a village shop and announce to one and all, “I’d like to kill him! May he roast slowly over a spit in hell!”

"If you haven’t yet experienced the prickly and amusing Agatha Raisin, these crisp fall weekends are just the time to curl up with a cozy murder mystery with a kick." 

The following weekend at the annual village pig roast, Agatha was standing near the barbeque pit when the grill was opened. She did a double take when she saw the main course, slowly roasting on a spit with the tattoo of a heart and the name “Amy” printed on the haunch. It looked less like a pig than a human body, sans head and legs, with a pig’s head sewn carefully in place.  
 

And so begins another Agatha Raisin mystery, complete with her quirky house guests, ex-boyfriends and ex-husband, tenuous friendships with neighbors, employees, snooty members of the women’s club and the local police force. Most of her income comes from staking out philandering husbands or tracking down minor thieves. When she does snag a bona-fide murder or large theft, she’s usually the detective, not the suspect, and glad of the challenge. She quickly proved that although she, along with about half the village, would cheerfully have murdered Officer Beech, she had a perfectly good alibi. 

The “Amy” of the tattoo on the murdered man turns out to be the victim's widow, and she hires Agatha to find the killer. Agatha and her team of private investigators set out to solve a crime that becomes much bigger and more serious than anyone, including the local police, had imagined. 

M.C. Beaton is as curt and brief on words as her character. She is as to-the-point in her writing as Agatha is in her crime solving, and as an author can be counted on to cut to the chase. No frilly décor descriptions or long, psychological musings on motive or personal appearance. Her characters dress for the weather, not for fashion, and her spare and witty dialogue moves the story along at a page-turning pace. 

AS THE PIG TURNS is a quick, lively read. If you haven’t yet experienced the prickly and amusing Agatha Raisin, these crisp fall weekends are just the time to curl up with a cozy murder mystery with a kick.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on August 9, 2011

As the Pig Turns: An Agatha Raisin Mystery
by M. C. Beaton

  • Publication Date: October 11, 2011
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 0312387024
  • ISBN-13: 9780312387020