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Agatha Raisin is the title character in the Agatha Raisin book series, as well as the subsequent radio and television adaptations.

She is a retired public relations executive who moved to the Cotswolds village of Carsely, where she became an amateur sleuth. She eventually became a licensed private investigator and set up her own detective agency.

In the television series, she is portrayed by Ashley Jensen. Penelope Keith previously voiced Agatha in BBC Radio 4's adaptation of the series.

Biography

Television series

Early life

One summer when she was a child, Agatha's parents took her to Carsely on a camping holiday. She found the countryside to be magical and knew she wanted to live there someday. (The Quiche of Death)

In her 20s Agatha was married to Jimmy Raisin who was good looking, drunk and always asking for money. She thought he had died until he turned up on her wedding day to James Lacey. (The Murderous Marriage)

Agatha worked as one of London's top PR's and represented many people for her company including popular band Boyhood, they were part of her last work as a PR. She retired in 2014. (The Quiche of Death)

Season 1

After moving to Carsely, Agatha entered the village's annual quiche baking competition in an attempt to fit in. However, as she wasn't a skilled baker, she chose to buy a quiche from a speciality shop in London and pass it off as her own. Despite entering a professionally made quiche into the competition, Agatha lost to six time reigning champion Ella Cartwright, who was secretly having an affair with the judge. Later, when the judge ate some leftovers of Agatha's quiche and died of poisoning, Agatha set out to clear her name. (TV: The Quiche of Death)

Agatha quickly developed a romantic interest in her next door neighbour James Lacey. Much to Agatha's annoyance, however, James had started dating Carsely newcomer Mary Fortune. Putting her PR experience to good use, Agatha helped promote the village's charity film night hosted at Charles Fraith's house. When rambler Jessica Tarnick was later murdered on Charles's property, Agatha was asked by the victim's friend to investigate. Enlisting the help of James, the two went undercover as a married couple to question the rest of Jessica's rambling group. (TV: The Walkers of Dembley)

Agatha joined the church bell ringing group and befriended the group's leader, Amanda Ballard. Agatha later discovered Amanda hanging from the belfry with a suicide note, but having gotten to know Amanda and her lifestyle she suspected foul play was involved. (TV: Hell's Bells)

Agatha once again put her PR skills to work when Roy Silver asked for her help with publicity for a mineral water company local to the Cotswolds. Following the death of the local Parish Council Chairman, who held the deciding vote on whether to allow the company to continue using the village's natural spring, Agatha didn't want to get involved. She then changed her mind after seeing James and Mary working together to investigate the murder. (TV: The Wellspring of Death)

In another effort to be part of the community, Agatha participated in Carsely's annual open garden competition. In addition to vandalisation and sabotage throughout the village, Mary Fortune was found murdered and planted in her own back garden. With James left heartbroken, Agatha decided to investigate Mary's murder. (TV: The Potted Gardener)

After helping Charles rent out Barfield House as a wedding venue, Agatha quickly found herself investigating the murder of a young bride who apparently drowned in a flash flood after her wedding. (TV: The Day the Floods Came)

Season 2

After an utterly disastrous trip to Cyprus, Agatha returned to Carsely. Desperately in need of some pampering and a new look, Agatha turned to the capable hands of Evesham’s hottest new hairdresser, the alluring Jonny Shawpart. Despite her best efforts, it wasn't long before Agatha fell under his spell and accepted Jonny’s invitation to dinner. Later, having learnt that fellow Carsely Ladies Society member Liza Friendly was absolutely terrified of him, the gang quickly discovered that Liza wasn't the only woman afraid of Jonny. Agatha and her friends set out to discover whether he’d been blackmailing the village women, but things took an unexpected turn when Jonny dropped dead in his salon after being poisoned by ricin injected into his beloved vitamins.

Agatha waited until the police were distracted so she could steal Jonny’s keys and get into his house to hide any incriminating evidence he was using to blackmail local women. She was shocked to find his list of victims was much longer than she had imagined, forcing her to wonder if one of the women she had been so determined to protect may in fact be the killer. With the list of potential suspects growing, Agatha decided to look into Jonny’s mysterious past. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before her attention returned to the village with the news that her neighbour Deirdra Darry was found murdered. With the case now feeling more personal than ever, Agatha found renewed determination to find the killer before they had the chance to strike again. (The Wizard of Evesham)

Hearing that her ex-fiance James was due back in Carsely any moment, Agatha took herself away to the remote village of Fryfam, under the pretence of needing the solitude to write her debut novel. Struggling to find inspiration for said novel, Agatha was quickly distracted by odd flashing ethereal lights in her garden. Spooked by what she'd seen, she headed off to the pub and spoke to the barmaid, Rosie. She started to realise that the whole village was obsessed with fairies; local legend had it that they live there and protect the villagers, however, Agatha didn't feel very ‘protected’ when she later returned to the cottage to find an effigy of herself and a note telling her to leave the village.

Upon hearing that she’s somewhat of an investigator, Agatha was approached by Lucy Trumpington-James, who wanted her to investigate her husband Tolly, as she suspected he was having an affair with Rosie. The next day, Agatha headed to their manor house where she finally found a welcoming face in the village courtesy of Mrs. J, the cleaner. Having now met the rude and obnoxious Tolly, Agatha immediately agreed to help Lucy, and decided to lampoon the not-so charming country ‘gent’ in her newly inspired novel: a murder mystery titled 'The Posh Guy Had It Coming'.

Agatha’s longing for peace was short lived when Charles, bored of an Agatha-free Carsely came to join her. At his insistence, they decided to investigate the fairies... but their investigation skills turned to far more serious matters when Tolly was found dead! To make matters worse, local policeman DCI Hand somehow found suspicious evidence in Agatha’s cottage... alongside the more than incriminating manuscript of her novel. The pressure was on for Agatha and the gang to find the real killer and prove her innocence before anyone else got hurt.

Much to DCI Hand’s disappointment, the police lacked enough evidence to hold Agatha. She was promptly released, under the strictest instructions from Hand to stop meddling. Agatha promised she would, and stayed true to her word... for a minute or two... before pursuing the case with DCI Hand as her prime suspect. Now joined in Fryfam by Bill and Gemma, the gang started to think they were making headway until one of their suspects was found brutally murdered. Now on the hunt for a suspected serial killer, Agatha was more focussed than ever on the case... but knowing that the killer was so keen to frame her, Agatha knew that she needed to be more careful. It quickly became apparent that many of her new neighbours in Fryfam harboured dark secrets that they did not want Agatha to expose, but which one of them was the murderer? (The Fairies of Fryfam)

Agatha and her friends were shocked to find Carsely's popular new curate, Tristan Delon, murdered in the vicarage. With Sarah the prime suspect in his murder, Agatha and the gang began working to prove her innocence. However, an unintentionally bad steer to the police from Agatha led to a local villager becoming the next victim.

After her investigating blunder led to a second murder, Agatha was ready to turn her back on investigating for good, leaving Sarah to feel even more helpless and now in the frame for two murders. However, when another villager was killed in front James, the close call put Agatha firmly back on the investigation. Agatha was once again determined to clear Sarah’s name as well as to protect her friends and loved ones. A drunken revelation at the annual Carsely Village duck race put Agatha hot on the murderer’s tail, but it soon became clear that this killer wasn't going to give up without a fight! (The Curious Curate)

Season 3

Having become an officially licensed private detective, Agatha opened her own detective agency, but potential clients weren't exactly breaking down the door of her new office. In search of business, Agatha and James visited Ivy Hall, a house said to be haunted since the English Civil War. (The Haunted House)

Business at the agency had been booming ever since Agatha solved the mystery surrounding the haunting of Ivy Hall. However, a scathing newspaper article by Inspector Wilkes, claiming Agatha was nothing more than an amateur who got lucky, began to harm the business. When Charles brought in his wealthy friend to hire the agency to investigate death threats against her daughter, Agatha had the opportunity to prove her critics wrong. After disaster struck at the daughter's engagement party, Agatha enrolled in dance lessons to try to outmanoeuvre the culprit. (The Deadly Dance)

Tensions between Agatha and James were running high ahead of a smooth jazz night at Barfield House. Then a woman James was seen arguing with turned up dead at Agatha's cottage, and James disappeared. Agatha teamed up with James's sister, and her former enemy, Sheila to find James and clear his name. (The Love from Hell)

To take her mind off her breakup with James, Agatha and the gang ventured out to the Winter Fayre, where the highlight of the evening is the roast pig on a spit. The event turned into a crime scene, however, when the main course turned out to be a tattooed human torso. (As the Pig Turns)

Book series

Early life

Agatha came from a working-class family in Birmingham. As a child, her family usually went away to Butlin's Holiday Camp, however, one summer Agatha's parents took her to the Cotswolds on holiday instead. She found the countryside beautiful and tranquil. She knew even as a child that one day she'd live there. In order to keep her dream intact, she didn't visit the Cotswolds again until after she had purchased a house in the village of Carsely many years later.

Her parents made her leave school at age fifteen to work in a biscuit factory. The women she worked with annoyed her and she was disgusted by her parents' constant drunkenness. This prompted her to work extra time, putting away money in a savings account that her parents couldn't access. One day she decided she'd had enough and left forLondon without even saying goodbye to her parents. In London, she began working as a waitress seven days a week until she could afford shorthand and typing lessons. Once qualified, she got a secretary job at a public relations firm.

Just as she was beginning to learn the business, she fell in love with Jimmy Raisin. Jimmy had no steady employment, but Agatha thought that marriage would motivate him to settle down. They got married and lived together in Kilburn. Only after marrying him did she realise that he was just another drunk. After two years of marriage she decided she was tired of being the sole breadwinner in the relationship and sick of putting up with his increasing bouts of drunken violence. One morning she simply packed her belongings and moved out. She had expected him to turn up eventually, if only for money, but he never did. On one occasion she returned to their place in Kilburn to find he had simply disappeared. Consequently, she assumed he was dead and never even filed for divorce, not that she intended to marry again.

Agatha continued to work hard at her job, becoming more ambitious and quickly developing a taste for the expensive clothing you'd expect of a high up public relations executive. (Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death)

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death

Having retired and sold her company, Agatha moved from London to the sleepy village of Carsely in the Cotswolds. Initially, she found village life dull and lonely. As the newest incomer, she found it hard to ingratiate herself among the villagers. After hearing about the village's upcoming best quiche competition, she figured that participating in the competition would help her fit in to village life and earn her favour among the locals.

Personality

Television series

Once an acerbic public relations executive, Agatha has become a sassy amateur detective.

Agatha is known to comfort eat when she's lonely or anxious. Her therapist believed she defined herself through work. (The Quiche of Death)

Book series

After making a life for herself in London, working hard at her job and surviving her disappointing marriage to Jimmy Raisin, Agatha found herself becoming more competent and aggressive until eventually the shy girl she used to be disappeared under layers of ambition. (Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death)

Physical Appearance

Television series

Agatha has blonde hair, which she wears in a bob. She wears sharp, bold and figure-hugging clothes with high heels and a handbag.

Book series

Agatha is described as having shiny brown hair cut in a Dutch bob, a plain square face and a stocky figure. (Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death)

Appearances

Quotes

[To James] I’m not going anywhere on my own! Have you not seen Scooby Doo? (TV: The Haunted House)

Gallery

A full photo gallery with pictures of Agatha Raisin can be found here.

Trivia

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