There's a murder near Carsely, a picturesque English village in the Cotswolds region, and former London PR queen turned amateur sleuth Agatha Raisin is on the case.
Agatha Raisin first appeared in a series of mystery novels written by M.C. Beaton (the pseudonym of Marion Chesney), who's also the author of the Hamish Macbeth books. Penelope Keith played the character for BBC Radio 4 from 2004 to 2006. In 2014, Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty, Extras) starred in the title-role of Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, a fun, fast-paced and charming Christmas special aired on Sky 1 (1). Adapted from the first book by screenwriter Stewart Harcourt (Agatha Christie's Marple), this production Mammoth Screen (Endeavour) and Free@Last TV was directed by Geoffrey Sax (Doctor Who).
Following the success of The Quiche of Death, Sky commissioned a 8 X 60-minute series which started this week. In Walkers of Dembley, based on Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley by M.C. Beaton, Agatha Raisin prepares a charity film event for local baronet Charles "Charlie" Fraith. She also pretends to like rambling in order to get close to James Lacey, her village crush, and keep an eye on her potential rival Mary Fortune. Jessica Tarnick, a member of a ramblers group from Dembley, is found murdered on the land of Charlie. DCI Wilkes and DC Bill Wong, the most clueless cop duo in the world, suspects Charles Fraith.
Deborah Camden asks Agatha to investigate because, after all, she's "an expert in these matters". Aggie's gay best friend Roy Silver, who brought from London a very peculiar yoga teacher, provides her with background research. She has a "brainstorming" with her cleaner Gemma Simpson and goes undercover with James as a married couple. What does "Méfiez-vous de l'illusion de la connaissance" mean? How many adults can sit in a wendy house? Directed by Geoffrey Sax (also series consultant) and written by Chris Murray (Midsomer Murders), this return of Ashley Jensen as the colourful detective is a real treat. The cast is excellent, starting with her and Mathew Horne as Roy.
Also with Katy Wix (Gemma), Jamie Glover (James), Matt McCooey (Bill), Jason Barnett (DCI Wilkes), June Watson (Mrs Josephs), Lucy Liemann (Sarah Bloxby), Rhashan Stone and Daisy Beaumont (Mary Fortune), Jason Merrells (Charles), Lara Rossi, etc. Produced by Mammoth Screen and Free@Last TV for Sky. Michelle Buck and Stewart Harcourt are the executive producers for Mammoth Screen. Barry Ryan and David Walton exec produce for Free@Last TV. Produced by Matthew Mulot. Music by Rupert Gregson-Williams and Christopher Willis. Titles by Light Creative. Distributed by Sky Vision.
(1) Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death was our coup de coeur of the rather bland TV 2014 Christmas season in the United Kingdom. Regrettably we didn't review it due to unforeseen circumstances. In France it was bought by France Télévisions.