C&R gives Agatha Raisin a makeover

<p>A crime series starring a &ldquo;delightfully un-PC&rdquo; private detective is being re-jacketed to extend its appeal to a younger audience.</p><p>M C Beaton&rsquo;s Agatha Raisin series has been revamped and the first four of the re-jacketed back catalogue titles will hit the shops on the 25th March. Four more will be published each month after that until July. The 20th novel in the series, <em>There Goes the Bride</em> will be published in paperback on 29th April after it was &shy;published in hardback with the new-look illustrated cover in October. </p><p>Robert Nichols, marketing director at publishers Constable &amp; Robinson, said: &ldquo;The previous covers focused on the locations and we wanted to bring out more of the Agatha Raisin character. She is delightfully un-PC. She says things that other people may think but don&rsquo;t say.&rdquo;</p><p>Constable &amp; Robinson said it wanted to expand the readership from the core of older women initially drawn to the novels by a Radio 4 series starring Penelope Keith four years ago.</p><p>The new covers were designed after a series of focus groups with current readers, lapsed readers <br />and people Constable &amp; Robinson believed would enjoy the books. Fourteen different designs were tried before settling on the chosen illustrations that bring out the &ldquo;quirky characters&rdquo; and &ldquo;black humour&rdquo; of the novels, according to Nichols. </p><p>The first four titles to be released with the new livery will be Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener, The Quiche of Death, The Vicious Vet and The Walkers of Dembley; they will all be published in paperback at &pound;6.99.</p>