M.C. Beaton's murder mystery series

Okay, here I am again, the one with the family with strict criteria for entertainment! :stuck_out_tongue:

My MIL has finished viewing the DVDs she received for Christmas and is wanting recommendations for books. She likes murder mysteries, but nothing too gory. I came across two M.C. Beaton’s series (Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth) and they look good (I’ve never read them) but before I think about recommending them to Mom, I need to know:

  1. any sex?
  2. how graphic are the murders?

I wish I had the time to read a few myself, but I have a backlog of reading to do (school and work) and I’m putting my own “reading for pleasure” on a backburner, so if anyone can give me an idea or opinion about these books, I’d appreciate it. Mom’s birthday is in a few days, so it would be nice to surprise her, if I can.

For reference purposes, she never misses anything by Mary Higgins Clark (and some of THOSE she finds too detailed, as far as the mind of the killer goes) or Aimee and David Thurlo’s “Sister Agatha” series. She’s also read Joanne Fluke’s “Hannah Swenson” baking mysteries. Just checking to see if M.C. Beaton falls in that category!

neither of those is particularly graphic. I enjoyed the books, at least the earlier ones in each series, but feel the characters and situations are getting a bit tired. my ony complaint with the TV versions is that, to me, they did not seem particularly true to the books. I don’t care for the character of Agatha Raisin, but the stories would have made for very entertaining TV, but I have not seen those, only a few of the Hamish MacBeth series. There is implied sex in that there are assumptions that unmarried people jump in the sack after a few dates as a matter of routine, but there is no reason why this should not reflect the general culture. The strength of the Hamish series at least in the earlier books is the contrast behind a small highland village with the larger Scots culture, and the romantic tension in a relationship that now seems to have withered. There is a series about a Welsh detective in a small town that does the same for Wales, when I remember either the detective or author I will post it.

Not clear if you are getting books or DVDs.

Father Brown is on DVD and I would love it as a gift, pricey to buy for myself.

Your mother might light the Brother Cadfael mysteries by Ellis Peters, set in a Benedictine monastery in middle ages England, cracking good mysteries, and fidelity to depiction of relation of church and monastery to the rest of society. Some of those were also televised a while back and probably in the NPR catalog.

Thanks, annie! I am looking for books (more portable than DVDs… good to take on trips). Is the “implied sex” in the books or on the DVDs?

I never thought about the Brother Cadfael mysteries. Have to check those out, too!

My “reading for pleasure” list is getting longer… sigh

I can only speak for the Agatha Raisin series of books- there is indeed implied sex in those. But nothing graphic. Agatha is middle aged, very vain, and desperately seeking fulfillment in a happily-ever-after sort of relationship with a man. So throughout the books, she will flirt, pursue relationships, etc. in efforts towards those ends.

As unappealing as that sounds, I actually found her to be a very sympathetic character- her poor choices never make her happy, but she really does have a good heart, once she looks outside herself. Her books belong to the “cozy” genre of murder mystery and are very light, easy reading, where the escapes-from-peril are not always shall we say the most plausible, the people who die are usually unpleasant to start with, there is little in the way of gore, and the bad guy is always caught.

I agree w/puzzleannie that they are at this point growing rather tired and repetitive. It is frustrating that Agatha seems to make so little progress towards any true happiness of her own, and there’s only so many manicures and hair appointments and failed dates that I can stomach reading about. :rolleyes: But the earlier books can be a lot of fun as she gets to know the other characters (and they get to know HER, many foibles and all!)

Anyway, here is a link for more on cozies, if this sounds like the kind of thing your MIL likes it might lead you to more ideas: cozy-mystery.com/Definition-of-a-Cozy-Mystery.html .

Sort of sounds like the Hannah Swenson series… two boyfriends–one an obvious jerk, but a fabulous kisser (which is apparently the only thing that keeps him in the running as a romantic interest!)–but so far, Hannah’s managed to stay out of bed with both of them… but the romantic triangle is growing tired here, too.

Thanks for the input!

I like Mary Daheim’s bed and breakfast mysteries. My mother loved those too. No graphic sex scenes in any of the books we read. In fact, she and her cousin Serena are members of a Catholic parish and are active in it. It’s quite an extensive series, and they’re nicely middle aged.

Another set I really like is Harry Kemelman’s Rabbi Small series. It was a nice look into another culture. It’s been a while, but I can’t recall anything graphic in the line of sex or violence, and my mother approved of them. We used to joke about how she could just jump over the vulgar words and sex scenes in books and movies.

And there’s always Agatha Christie. Miss Marple is just the best little old lady detective ever.

There is a series about a Welsh detective in a small town that does the same for Wales, when I remember either the detective or author I will post it.

Are you thinking of the " ‘Even’s" series?’ 'Evens to Betsy. “Evean help us” Etc. It is about Even Evens by Rhys Bowen. I like it. She also has a couple of other series. While there is unmarried sex in all of them, they are not graphic. (One series is about an Irish Immigrant Molly (Blank very Irish name) who becomes a detective and the other is about a Royal who has no money and secretly cleans for others while of course solving murders)

While I enjoy Hamish MacBeth I really don’t like Agatha Raisen. I have a hard time reading if I don’t like the main character at all.

I read only one, but Tamar Myers was good. The titles are puns. I read “Just Plain Pickled to Death”. She either is Mennonite, or had Mennonite family. No sex. It was quite amusing.

all these are good and your relative would enjoy them. the most that happens is the variety of "I met suzy for dinner and we spent the night together, with no graphic descriptions of what goes on. " and some like Tamar Myers and Mary Dedham have not even that much reference, except the latter is a good Catholic who got “in trouble” as a teen, married the other guy and paid for it, and that becomes a plot element, but the Catholic moral view is mostly upheld throughout.

I can’t believe we haven’t mentioned The Cat Who . . . blanking out on author, but the male detective, a newspaper man turned rich eccentric, who is assisted by his highly intelligent siamese cats, has a lady friend but no hanky panky is referred to. Lillian Braun, I think is the author

Oh, yes, Lillian Jackson Braun and her Jim Qwilleran series with Koko and Yum-Yum! I did read a few of hers (I like cats… Mom, not so much…) and I’ll look into the others, too… Hmmm, guess my “reading for pleasure” COULD become “required reading”… for research purposes, of course… :wink:

Here are some other series that I have enjoyed that haven’t been mentioned yet (and are not graphic):

Sister Joan series by Veronica Black
Dorothy Martin series by Jeanne Dams
Fr Dowling Mysteries by Ralph McInerny

I’ve just finished reading the first book of a new (to me) series: “Peach of a Murder” by Livia Washburn. It reminded me of the Hannah Swenson series by JoAnne Fluke … it had recipes!

MadameButterfly … a mystery aficionada :thumbsup:

I like the Sister Frevisse stories by Margaret Frazer. They are historical and present the Faith in a good way. (OF course there are sinners in the Church too but then where would the murders come from)

What a great thread. I love cozies.

An enjoyable and well-written series, which, as far as I can remember, has a couple of innocent romantic scenes but no actual or implied sex, is Karen MacInerney’s Grey Whale Inn series. The main character is a single woman who owns an inn on one of Maine’s islands. Well written and enjoyable.

Amazon Link:


Another recommendation would be Lorna Barrett’s series. The main character is a single woman living in a quaint New Hampshire town, who owns a mystery book shop. Again, this series is very “innocent,” absolutely no graphic contents. The books are well-written and entertaining.

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