The Blood of an Englishman by M.C. Beaton
Description: When the village baker, Bert Simple, is murdered during an amateur theatrical production Private Detective Agatha Raisin is called in to help solve the mystery. With plenty of suspects but a general lack of motive could this be the mystery that even Agatha Raisin cannot solve?
Why I Picked This Book: I've read other Agatha Raisin's in the past and enjoyed them. I also enjoyed the last Hamish MacBeth
Pros: While I have read other Agatha Raisins I definitely haven't read them in any kind of order. I really don't feel that that affected my enjoyment of this mystery. While it's obvious that there were earlier mysteries no part of the plot or real character development hangs on knowing what happened in earlier books. Agatha is an interesting character. For the most part she's not terribly likable - she's arrogant, petty and at times close minded. However, in an odd way I found myself liking her. I wouldn't want to have coffee with her but I found her funny and entertaining as well as believably intelligent. The mystery itself was well done and you see how she works out the solutions to the different problems. Her staff was also interesting without side stories that took over the main plot but allowed for more information than just Agatha herself could have come up with.
Cons: While I actually kind of like that Agatha isn't the most likable of main characters the "man mad" aspect of her personality does get a little annoying. While at times it does help the plot there are several rants and one particular incident that just seemed to waste time. I also didn't like that Bert was killed in such a complicated way. There were 2 paragraphs of explanation and it was still hard to understand. That definitely could have been simplified but it's a minor point.
Overall: It has been awhile since my last Agatha Raisin but if my memory is correct this was a stronger mystery and more enjoyable which leads me to believe the series is getting stronger. It's a fun cozy with some darker aspects handled fairly lightly. Agatha isn't everyone's cup of tea but I did find she grew on me.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes, I will definitely be on the lookout for new books in the series and if I have time I may pick up some of the earlier books.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, I think most cozy mystery readers would enjoy this one once they get path Agatha's quirks.