Marital bliss was short-lived for Agatha Raisin. Her marriage to James Lacey was a disaster from the beginning, and in the end, he left her-not for another woman, but for God. After having been miraculously cured of a brain tumor, James has decided to join a monastery in France. Agatha can usually depend on her old friend, Sir Charles Fraith, to be there when times are tough, but even Charles has abandoned her, dashing off to Paris to marry a young French tart. Miserable and alone, Agatha hops on a plane and heads for a remote island in the South Pacific.
Tetchy Agatha Raisin's attempt at a little R&R in the wake of her beloved husband's defection to a French monastery gets her revved up for another mystery when she hears that a fellow vacationer was murdered. The real story in M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came takes place upon Agatha's return to her Cotswold home, when she learns of a young woman's apparent suicide and decides to investigate with the aid of her new neighbor, the dashing, cultured and vaguely lascivious writer John Armitage, and her own surprising flair for deceit and disguise. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 19, 2003
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Excerpt from Agatha Raisin and the Day the Floods Came by M. C. Beaton
It was one of those grey days where misty rain blurs the windscreen and the bare branches of the winter trees mournfully drip water into puddles on the road as if weeping for summer past.
Agatha Raisin turned on the switch to demist the windscreen of her car. She felt that inside her was a black hole to complement the dreariness of the day. She was heading for the travel agent in Evesham, one thought drumming in her head. Get away... get away... get away.
For miserable Agatha felt rejected by the world. She had lost her husband, not to another woman, but to God. James Lacey was training to take holy orders at a monastery in France. Sir Charles Fraith, always her friend and supporter when James went missing, had just got married, in Paris, and without even inviting Agatha to the wedding. She had learned about it by reading a small item in Hello magazine. And there had been a photograph of Charles with his new bride, a Frenchwoman called AnneMarie Duchenne, small, petite, young. Grimly, middle-aged Agatha sped down Fish Hill in the direction of Evesham. She would escape from it all -- winter, the Cotswolds where she lived in the village of Carsely, a broken heart and a feeling of rejection. Although, she reflected, hearts did not break. It was one's insides that got twisted up with pain.
Sue Quinn, the owner of Go Places, looked up as Agatha Raisin walked in and wondered what had happened to her usually brisk and confident customer. Agatha's hair was showing grey at the roots, her bearlike eyes were sad, and her mouth was turned down at the corners. Agatha sank down into a chair opposite Sue. "I want to get away," she said, looking vaguely round at the posters on the wall, the brightly coloured ranks of travel brochures, and then back at the world map behind Sue's head.
"Well, let's see." said Sue. "Somewhere sunny?"
"Maybe. I don't know. An island. Somewhere remote."
"You upset about something?" asked Sue. In her long experience, unhappy people often headed for islands, unhappy people or drunks. Islands drew them like a magnet.
"No," snapped Agatha. So deep was her misery, she did not want to confide in anyone and, in a sick way, she felt her misery still somehow tied her to James Lacey.
"All right," said Sue. "Let me see. You look as if you could do with a bit of sun. I know; what about Robinson Crusoe Island?"
"Where's that? I don't want one of those Club Med places."
"It's in the Juan Fernandez Archipelago." Sue swung her chair and pointed to the map. "Just off the coast of Chile. It's where Alexander Selkirk was marooned."
"He was a Scottish seaman who was marooned there and Daniel Defoe learned about him and wrote Robinson Crusoe based on his adventures."
Agatha scowled in thought. She had read Robinson Crusoe in school. She couldn't remember much about it except it conjured up a vision of remoteness, of coral beaches and palm trees. She would walk along the beach and feel the sun on her head and get her life together.
She gave a weary shrug. "Sounds okay. Fix it up."
Three weeks later, Agatha stood in the hot sunshine at Tobalaba Airport in Santiago and stared at the small Lassa Airlines plane which was to carry her to Robinson Crusoe. There were only two other passengers: a thin, bearded man, and a young pretty girl. The pilot appeared and told them to climb on board. The girl sat in the co-pilot's seat and Agatha and the bearded man on one side of the plane. The other side was laden with a cargo of toilet rolls and bread rolls. Agatha's luggage, as per instructions, was limited to one travel bag. But the temperature in Santiago had been a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, so she had only packed underwear and light clothes. Her lunch was in a paper bag: one can of Coke, one sandwich and a packet of potato chips.