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Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist

Titel: Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist
Autoren: MC Beaton
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AGATHA RAISIN

    Agatha Raisin was born in a tower block slum in Birmingham and christened Agatha Styles. No middle names. Agatha had often longed for at least two middle names such as Caroline or Olivia. Her parents, Joseph and Margaret Styles, were both unemployed and both drunks. They lived on benefits and the occasional bout of shoplifting.
    Agatha attended the local comprehensive as a rather shy and sensitive child but quickly developed a bullying, aggressive manner so that the other pupils would steer clear of her.
    At the age of fifteen, her parents decided it was time she earned her keep and her mother found her work in a biscuit factory, checking packets of biscuits on a conveyer belt for any faults.
    As soon as Agatha had squirreled away enough money, she ran off to London and found work as a waitress and studied computing at evening classes. But she fell in love with a customer at the restaurant, Jimmy Raisin. Jimmy had curly black hair and bright blue eyes and a great deal of charm. He seemed to have plenty of money to throw around. He wanted an affair, but besotted as she was, Agatha held out for marriage.
    They moved into one room in a lodging house in Finsbury Park where Jimmy’s money soon ran out (he would never say where it came from in the first place). And he drank. Agatha found she had escaped the frying pan into the fire.
    She was fiercely ambitious. One night, when she came home and found Jimmy stretched out on the bed dead drunk, she packed her things and escaped.
    She found work as a secretary at a public relations firm and soon moved into doing public relations herself. Her mixture of bullying and cajoling brought her success. She saved and saved until she could start her own business.
    But Agatha had always been a dreamer. Years back when she had been a child her parents had taken her on one glorious holiday. They had rented a cottage in the Cotswolds for a week. Agatha never forgot that golden holiday or the beauty of the countryside.
    So as soon as she had amassed a great deal of money, she took early retirement and bought a cottage in the village of Carsely in the Cotswolds.
    Her first attempt at detective work came after she cheated at a village quiche baking competition by putting a shop bought quiche in as her own. The judge died of poisoning and shamed Agatha had to find the real killer. Her adventures there are covered in the first Agatha Raisin mystery, The Quiche of Death, and in the series of novels that follow. As successful as she is in detecting, she constantly remains unlucky in love. Will she ever find happiness with the man of her dreams? Watch this space!

Chapter One

    Agatha Raisin was a bewildered and unhappy woman. Her marriage to her next-door neighbour, James Lacey, had been stopped by the appearance of a husband she had assumed – hopefully – to be dead. But he was very much alive, that was, until he was murdered. Solving the murder had, thought Agatha, brought herself and James close again, but he had departed for north Cyprus, leaving her alone.
    Although life in the Cotswold village of Carsely had softened Agatha around the edges, she was still in part the hard-bitten businesswoman she had been when she had run her own public relations firm in Mayfair before selling up, taking early retirement and moving to the country. And so she had decided to pursue James.
    Cyprus, she knew, was partitioned into two parts, with Turkish Cypriots in the north and Greek Cypriots in the south. James had gone to the north and somewhere, somehow, she would find him and make him love her again.
    North Cyprus was where they had been supposed to go on their honeymoon and, in her less tender moments, Agatha thought it rather hard-hearted and crass of James Lacey to have gone there on his own.
    When Mrs Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, called, it was to find Agatha amidst piles of brightly coloured summer clothes.
    ‘Are you taking all those with you?’ asked Mrs Bloxby, pushing a strand of grey hair out of her eyes.
    ‘I don’t know how long I will be there,’ said Agatha. ‘I’d better take lots.’
    Mrs Bloxby looked at her doubtfully. Then she said, ‘Do you think you are doing the right thing? I mean, men do not like to be pursued.’
    ‘How else do you get one?’ demanded Agatha angrily. She picked up a swimsuit, one-piece, gold and black, and looked at it critically.
    ‘I have doubts about James Lacey,’ said Mrs Bloxby in her gentle voice. ‘He always struck me as

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