Monday, 11 August 2008

Sitting In The Local Library

Since I lost my Internet connection and I have had to use the computers in the local library, I have also found that I have been doing a lot more reading. I have found a lovely series of books by M C Beaton, about a middle-aged lady called Agatha Raisin. This lady lives in a village in the Cotswolds and is is like a modern-day Miss Marple, although she does more in the way of detecting and less comparison with other village characters, than Agatha Christie's great female detective did.

These books are hardly great works of literature, but they do afford me a few hours of enjoyment as I read their pages. I've read five of them so far, and I've found another one in the library today, so I have taken that out on loan and will no doubt manage to read it over the next day or two.

M C Beaton also wrote the highly enjoyable books about the Scottish policeman, Hamish Macbeth; a policeman who operated to his own rules, but who ensured that real criminals got their just desserts, while allowing the various inhabitants of Lochdubh to continue with their sometimes barely legal pursuits. Hamish Macbeth was successfully brought to television in the 1990s by the BBC with Robert Carlyle as the ubiquitous policeman. The Agatha Raisin stories have been broadcast on Radio Four with Penelope Keith as Agatha Raisin, and although she does not physically fit the description of Agatha in the books, I can see that she would bring a certain something to the part that would be most enjoyable.

What is most surprising about the Agatha Raisin books is that although they were written by a British author, who lives in Britain, and they are about a very English village with its archetypal inhabitants, the books were published in America, long before getting published here. I suppose that it is as a result of reading these slightly comic adventures that the Americans get such strange ideas about the British and about our country. I am sure that they believe that everything that is written is true and exactly as it is in this country, while now that we can eventually read this simple lovely stories, where Agatha does encounter more murders than anyone would want to, we can sit and laugh at the characters that are pure caricature.

No comments: