|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2007)|
Agatha Raisin is a fictional detective in a series of mystery novels by Marion Chesney using the pseudonym M. C. Beaton. They are published in the U.K. by Constable & Robinson and in the U.S.A. by St. Martins Press.
Agatha Raisin is a frustrated, yet endearing, middle-aged public-relations agent who moved from London to Carsely in the Cotswolds when she sold her public-relations firm in Mayfair and took early retirement. She solves murders in each of the earlier books, but in the fifteenth book Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance (2004) Agatha sets up her own detective agency. The police, and even some of her acquaintances, insist that she solves crimes through accident and luck.
In the first book, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (1992), Agatha is 53, but she ages as the series progresses. She was born Agatha Styles in a tower block slum in Birmingham to Joseph and Margaret Styles, both unemployed drunks living on benefits and occasional bouts of shoplifting. She went for one glorious week on a rare family vacation - her parents preferred going to a casino/holiday camp, and she never forgot that golden holiday or the beauty of the countryside. Agatha went to the local comprehensive, then saved enough from her biscuit factory wages to run off to London. After an evening secretarial course she worked as a secretary in a public relations firm, moved into public relations work and saved enough to start her own firm.
She lives in the village of Carsely, but her detective agency Raisin Investigations and the police headquarters where Bill Wong is based are in the nearby town of Mircester. Even though Carsely and Mircester are fictional, they are based on true places; she does, however frequent Evesham, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden and other nearby villages quite often. Agatha's first case came when she first moved to Carsely and heard about a quiche competition. She promptly bought a quiche in London from a famous quiche shop and entered it as her own. She was outraged she did not win but later the judge, Reg Cummings-Browne, takes another slice and dies from cowbane administered in Agatha's spinach quiche. Frustrated, Agatha must set out to find the poisoner and clear her own name.
- Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (1992)
- Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet (1993)
- Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (1994)
- Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley (1995)
- Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage (1996)
- Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist (1997)
- Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death (1998)
- Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham (1999)
- Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden (1999)
- Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryfam (2000)
- Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell (2001)
- Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came (2002)
- Agatha Raisin and the Case of the Curious Curate (2003)
- Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House (2003)
- Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance (2004)
- Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon (2005)
- Love, Lies and Liquor: An Agatha Raisin mystery (2006)
- Kissing Christmas Goodbye: An Agatha Raisin mystery (2007)
- Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison (2008)
- Agatha Raisin: There Goes the Bride (2009)
- Agatha Raisin and the Busy Body (2010)
- Agatha Raisin: As the Pig Turns (October 2011)
- Agatha Raisin: Hiss and Hers (2012)
- Agatha Raisin: Something Borrowed, Someone Dead (2013)
- Agatha Raisin: The Blood of an Englishman (2014)
- Bill Wong - police detective constable and friend
- James Lacey - neighbour with whom Agatha has an on-and-off romantic relationship
- Sir Charles Fraith - friend of Aggie's known for being stingy with his money; has an on-off sexual relationship with her
- Mrs Margaret Bloxby - the vicar's wife who greatly admires Agatha and is always looking out for Agatha's best interests
- Roy Silver - former co-worker from the public relations firm Agatha previously owned
- Miss Kylie Simms - Carsely's unmarried mother and secretary of the Ladies' Society
- Toni Gilmour - hired detective at Agatha's agency, very beautiful, eighteen, Agatha is jealous of her good looks, and a good friend
- Phil Marshall and Patrick Mulligan - detectives employed at Agatha's agency
- Mrs Freedman - secretary at the detective agency
- Harry Beam - originally worked in Toni Gilmour's position, has appeared in the past few books
- Doris Simpson - Agatha's ever-present cleaner and good friend, who looks after her cats Hodge and Boswell when she is away
- The Vicar, Alf Bloxby - Vicar of Carsely with a unique disdain towards Agatha. Hates Agatha, even though she has helped him when he had a crisis of faith and also when he was accused of Murder. Also dislikes many of his parishioners.
- Mr and Mrs Wong - Bill Wong's Parents. Mother is a native of Gloucestershire, whereas the Father is Hong Kong Chinese. The mother is an awful cook and they are both known to eat at bad restaurants. They are also known for an attraction to brash gaudy decor.
- Agatha Raisin in There Goes the Bride (2009)