Wednesday, January 01, 2020

First Books of 2020

Well, 2020 is finally here. Or maybe I should put that another way – 2019 is FINALLY over! Not the best year for me, reading-wise, health-wise, the-culture-at-large-wise, or any other wise I can think of. So I'm especially glad to see that one gone. And I'm hoping for much better stuff in 2020, for all of us.

But I'm starting the year on a sad note – just heard that Marion Chesney died December 30th. She was 83, an age that once upon a time would have made me come out with something about her living a full, long life. These days, however, 83 doesn't seem so old or so far away. But that's probably gist for another post. And I digress, as usual.

Chesney was an amazingly prolific writer who wrote under a number of pseudonyms. As M.C. Beaton she was the author of a couple of long-running series of whodunnits – the Hamish Macbeth mysteries, and the wonderfully wacky Agatha Raisin cozies. Both of those series have been adapted for British TV, though I haven't seen either of them yet. I just discovered Agatha Raisin last year – I read the first four books in the series and loved every one of them. So in honor of Ms. Chesney/Beaton, I'll be starting the year off with number five: Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage (first published in 1996).

And I'm determined to get through as many of the Agatha books as I can this year. There are thirty books in the series, with possibly one more coming in 2020; so there's no way I'll finish the series, but it gives me a lofty goal.

In addition to the Agatha, I've got another book going, one I actually started in 2019 – Bitter End, by Rex Stout.

It's the first of the Nero Wolfe novellas Stout published in magazines over the years, and I think it's a great way to start my reading year – it's a short read, and you really can't go wrong with Nero Wolfe.

So, that's what I'll be reading for the next couple of days. It's cold (well, cold-ish) here in central Texas right now, with rain predicted for tomorrow, and M and I don't really have anything on the schedule. And now that all the holiday busy-ness is calming down, I should be able to spend quite a bit of my time curled up with my books. If I can manage to pry myself away from all this blogging madness, that is.

Happy New Year, everyone! And Happy Reading in 2020.


  1. I’m sorry to hear of Chesney’s death (and I feel the same way re: age)

    Happy reading, and happy new year 🥳

  2. I hope you love both books. Happy New Year!

  3. So sorry about the loss of now I have added this Agatha Raisin cozy to my bookmarked list. I've been wanting to read these books, since I loved the Netflix series. Now I must begin the books!

    Enjoy your reading!

  4. Yes, I was so sad to learn of Chesney’s untimely demise —I really enjoy her books so much. Another author that was lost this year is Dorothea Benton Frank, another favorite of mine. And yes, 83 sounds not to far away for sure.

  5. I like your reading choices and would like to read the first Agatha Raisin novel this year. I agree that as I am aging and 10 years into retirement, 83 does not seem so old to me.


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