By OLINE H. COGDILL
Agatha Raisin is a blonde?
For some reason, it never occurred to me that the British public relations guru turned amateur sleuth would be a blonde.
I won’t say “new” series because Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death and the subsequent eight episodes were first aired in Britain in 2014. The series is just now being available for American audiences.
Based on the bestselling novels by M.C. Beaton, the TV series (and the books) revolve around Agatha Raisin, who sells her public relations firm in Mayfair and takes early retirement.
She moves to the charming, isolated village of Carsely in the Cotswolds for reasons that are clear only to her. She wants a home, a place she can fit in.
But that may be a fantasy as the prickly, assertive Agatha isn’t really adaptable to small-town living. She also is the best-dressed woman in the area and her purses...well, her purses are beautiful.
But she tries, oh boy, does she try.
For a public relations expert, she’s socially awkward. But like a good public relations agent, she will eventually win over the residents.
The first episode—Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death—portrays her attempts to fit in with her new community by entering a local quiche contest.
She doesn’t win. But the winner’s victory is short-lived.
The judge, Reg Cummings-Browne, had another slice of her quiche at home and died from poisoning.
To prove her innocence and to endear herself to her neighbors, Agatha plays amateur sleuth to find the poisoner.
To find the killer, she just kicks into damage control as she did in her business.
Oh, and by the way, she didn’t actually make that fatal quiche.
The TV series captures the acerbic wit and also loneliness of Agatha, who worked her way up from a terrible childhood and poverty to be a successful businesswoman.
Ashley Jensen is just delightful as Agatha who never gives up.
Jensen is an excellent character actress and is probably best known to American audiences for her stints as Maggie Jacobs on Extras and Christina McKinney on Ugly Betty.
Jensen is assisted by a top-notch supporting cast including Katy Wix as Gemma Simpson, Mathew Horne as Roy Silver, Jamie Glover as James Lacey, Jason Barnett as DI Wilkes, Matt McCooey as DC Bill Wong, and Lucy Liemann as Sarah.
Currently there are only eight episodes of Agatha Raisin, but Beaton has 27 novels in her series, and a few short stories, so there is no dearth of material.
Photos: Top and bottom, Ashley Jensen; center, Ashley Jensen and Jamie Glover. Photos courtesy Acorn