Agatha Raisin and the Procrastinating Blogger

I am by far the least productive person I know in real life — a sad yet also happy reality. Recently I’ve been patting myself on the back for attending these smelly Bikram Yoga classes. I was being so diligent about being active, I let the whole writing thing slip away.

It seems like I’m unable to dedicate myself to two or more productive pursuits at a time — but so many people juggle two to three, or heck, even four(!) things on a daily basis: gym, work, cook, write, hobbies, socialise, children, etc. I have got to step up my game in order to function in the real world (stupid, stupid real world), so today the goal is to have done both yoga (tick this box) AND publish a post.

If I’m really ambitious I might even see a friend in the evening — it is Friday after all.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

To tick box number two I will discuss what’s been occupying the vast swathes of spare time I’ve been cursed with.

Yesterday was a serious pancake day in my world. Pancake day means that I lay down on my sofa, flat as a pancake, and practically never left it.a While on the aforementioned couch I watched a mediocre BBC period mini-series from start to finish and completed two murder mystery novels.

Yes not one, but two! No, my friend, I am no speed-reader. Nor am I a naughty page-skipper. It’s just that these novels are immensely readable, not that long, and, well,  one was already half-way done.

How I love a good murder mystery novel! Hell, I enjoy even bad murder mystery novels. Or any sort of crime show on television. Or a good thriller with an unexpected twist at the end. Or grisly true crime accounts. It’s a genre that keeps on giving, at least to me.

At the moment my favourite sub-genre of crime/mystery is the “cozy-mystery,” that is, humorous novels where the crimes take place in a small intimate community and it’s up to an amateur detective to solve the case.

Sounds silly?

Well, yes, it is by no means “heavy reading,” but gosh it’s fun. It’s also a somewhat better use of my time than watching episode after episode of The Real Housewives — thank goodness that phase ended.

My weakness at the moment is M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series, in which the pushy, unlikable owner of a successful PR firm retires to a cottage in the Cotswalds in the fictional village of Carsely. Her arrival in the village precipitates a string of murders, which she goes about solving with the help of her handsome yet aloof next door neighbour, James Lacey.

A flawed protagonist, some light comedy, enough of a love interest to keep things interesting and throw in a couple of cats — why, it’s the perfect formula to appeal to a reader like me!

imgresIf you think this title is bad, consider James Anderson’s The Affair of the Blood-Stained Egg Cozy.

Over the span of two decades Beaton has churned out 21 Agatha Raisin novels, and I imagine that almost all the inhabitants of the quaint little village meet a murderous fate — apart from the pivotal Agatha Raisin and her supporting cast, of course.

I’m unsure if I can manage to make it all the way through the complete set of Agatha’s adventures — in Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley I began to notice how frequently the word “truculent” appeared and while I recognise that it’s a good word to describe the heroine’s character, I consider that sloppy writing.

But it is good research, since I have been thinking about writing a cozy-crime novel of my very own…

 

  1. It’s a very shameful thing to do on a weekday and the day after a pancake day usually involves a flurry of activity to compensate for the day before’s utter uselessness.  (back)