I first came across M C Beaton‘s Agatha Raisin series of books when we first moved to England. Prior to that, I had read her Hamish Macbeth series while living in Scotland and thoroughly enjoyed it because my life resembled that of the inhabitants of the fictitious village of Lochdubh.
When I first looked at the Agatha Raisin series of books in the library, they didn’t interest me. It was set in the Cotswolds and I didn’t think that it would be as exciting as the Hamish Macbeth series of books. How wrong I was! Out of curiosity, in Autumn 2019, I started buying and reading the Agatha Raisin series book by book and got hooked. I still have not finished the whole series and the pandemic meant that I got a bit side tracked.
Fast forward to Autumn 2021, I decided to re read the Agatha Raisin series of books in my bookshelf and order the remaining books from the series so that there will be a steady flow to the storyline. I started with the very first book “Agatha Raisin and Quiche of Death”; I couldn’t remember the story which is not a bad think. I have also read “Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet”. Tonight, I should finish the third book of the series “Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener”.
A little bit about Agatha Raisin herself, Agatha Raisin is a 50 something woman who retires to the Cotsworld village of Carsely after a successful career in PR in London. However, Carsely is not the quiet village that she had imagined it to be. The first murder happens very shortly after she arrives and Agatha Raisin becomes a suspect!!!! It is this experience that causes her to turn into an amateur sleuth much to the annoyance of the local police.
M C Beaton’s books are known as cosy crime books so they won’t give you a nightmare when you sleep at night!
This book is for you if you have always wanted to live in a cosy little English village.
If you have enjoyed this blog, then you will enjoy Mrs Bloxby, the vicar’s wife!!!😁
Lesslie Newbigin’s A South India Diary caught my eye when I was browsing through the Mhinisteir’s library. The reason why it caught my eye was pedantic. I just had to take the book out to be sure that Newbigin did indeed have two Ss on his first name!
As you can see from the photo, This is a very old book published in 1951. The title was too attractive for someone fascinated by India. Furthermore I realised that Newbigin was first ordained in the Church of Scotland.
Lesslie Newbigin was a British Clergyman who became the first Bishop of South India. The book is really a diary of Newbigin’s time in India as the first Bishop of South India. It is a very interesting read even though at times it can feel repetitive as his days were very long and usually taken up by the same things (meeting people, attending meetings, conducting worship, solving disputes etc). It was an eye opener to read about another culture but also to learn of the challenges faced by converts to Christianity in that culture.
As Newbigin had a good way with words, this book gets a 3/5.
It is 1966. Madras, India. A young Brahmin (Bhaskar) realises the futility of his ritualistic Hinduism. Unable to face another day, he gives his gods an ultimatum: reveal yourself, or I will kill myself. After preparing a deadly meal, he heads out for what he thinks will be his final walk around the city. As he does he passes a man handing out flyers. They catch his eye. He’s intrigued. He heads inside to see what’s going on. What happens next changes the direction of his life and the ill-fated meal waiting at home.
I picked this book from the Mhinisteir’s library. I am very interested in World Religions and so was excited to learn a little about Hinduism and so started reading it on Sunday instead of my usual Sabbath nap! It was an easy read so I finished it in 3 hours!
I had hoped to learn more about Bhaskar but the book was about his early days before and after becoming a Christian. The first four chapters were quite heavy as they contained many Indian terms for rites and rituals with detailed explanations which were at times overwhelming.
As I arrived at the last page, I was disappointed that the book didn’t touch on Bhaskar’s later life like how he met his wife and how he ended up ministering in Bristol! The book somehow felt incomplete!
The first piece of news I heard just after we welcomed in 2020 was the death of author M C Beaton. I was very sorry to hear it as she is one of my favourite authors. I have just started reading her Agatha Raisin Series of books. While in Scotland, I enjoyed her Hamish Macbeth series.
This morning while reading an obituary of her in the Telegraph, I discovered that the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams was a fan!!!
I bought some books to read during the holidays and I am pleased to say that I am not disappointed.
The books I bought were from M C Beaton’s Agatha Raisin’s series.
I started off with the very first one in the series called Agatha Raisin and the quiche of death. It was so wonderful that I have now also finished the next one in line Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet. I have just literally placed an order for more books from the same series.
If like me, you like light hearted murder mysteries then Agatha Raisin is your woman!!!!
Spoiler Alert: The Vicar’s Wife, Mrs Bloxby is portrayed as a very sweet lady!!!
Power through prayer by E.M. Bounds was recommended by the Rev Eric Alexander formerly of The Tron in Glasgow in one of his online sermons that the Mhinisteir and I listen to as part of our family worship just before bedtime.
The Mhinisteir allowed me to borrow this book from his library and I have spent the last two weeks reading it.
Edward McKendree Bounds (1835 – 1913) started each day by praying for three hours. He stresses on the importance of prayer in the life of the clergy but I think it is relevant to all Christians. It is a thin book with short chapters.
I have always wanted to know the true meaning of the word “Unction” and I got three chapters of clear and proper description.
About a year ago, the book at bedtime on Radio Four was Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. I know I enjoyed listening to it but I can only vaguely remember the storyline as I was drifting in and out of sleep.
This week I heard on Radio Four’s open book an interview with Gail Honeyman, the author of Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine. It was only then that I realised that She is Scottish. I would love to read the book and so have asked the Mhinisteir to put it in his Amazon Wish List!!!
Lately, I have a lot of free time due to my bed rest so I have been raiding the Mhinisteir’s vast library for a good book to read. I came across ” Azariah of Dornakal” by Carol Graham. It is an old book that was published in May 1946!
The Ministeir’s library is filled with very old books which is one reason why I never go near it except to dust!
I decided to give this a go and am pleased to say that I did reach the end of the book. As it is an old book, the print is very small and it is not an easy read. There were moments when I had to reread some pages!!!
Azariah was the first Indian to be consecrated Bishop in the Anglican communion and this book is about him and his ministry to the people in rural India. I found the following quote about Christian giving very instructive:
“Christian giving is a religious duty; when man does not recognise God’s ownership of his money, he has not fully recognised God’s claim upon his whole being …. Where God’s claims upon our money is ignored it becomes one of the greatest dangers to our spiritual life… Christians must consider it part of their religious duty to give generously according to their power, yea and beyond their power, in order that the cause of their Crucified Lord may not suffer for want of money. If they are desperately poor they must give out of their deep poverty….Christian giving is worship; offerings and all gifts must therefore be the expression of the giver’s personal dedication to Him who bought us with a price and must be given in the spirit of worship. Church offerings should always be offered not collected.” – Bishop Azariah of Dornakal
I love Scottish murder mysteries. Gentle ones like M C Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth Series. The Mhinisteir often blames my sleepless nights on my love for murder mysteries!
I picked up the above titled book by Alexander McCall Smith at a coffee morning sometime back. I decided to read it and for the first time was utterly disappointed by the ending! I don’t think I have ever been disappointed by a book’s ending. McCall Smith is one of my favourite writers but the ending was just not what I expected.
As we approach the Petertide ordinations, I have been trying hard to think what would make a good gift to a newly ordained Curate’s Wife. Our young friend who is an ordinand will be ordained in a few week’s time. The Mhinisteir already has a gift in mind for him. I thought it would be a good idea to get his young Wife something relevant too especially as she comes from a different culture.
The Mhinisteir came up with a brilliant suggestion. A book by Heather Tinker entitled “who’d be a Minister’s Wife? I was a little hesitant only because our young friends are Anglo Catholics.
As I am now on forced bed rest, I decided to reread the book. I first read it in the year 2002 when we lived in Scotland. At that time, I didn’t find the book too relevant for the Scottish setup. Now that I live in England the book is suddenly very relevant.