Agatha brings out the crowds for the fair, all right, but there's more going on than innocent village fun. Several of the offerings in the jam-tasting booth turn out to be poisoned, and the festive family event becomes the scene of two murders.
Along with her young and pretty sidekick, Toni, Agatha must uncover the truth behind the jam tampering, keep the church funds safe from theft, and expose the nasty secrets lurking in the village, all while falling for handsome George, who may have secrets of his own.
©2008 M. C. Beaton; (P)2008 Books on Tape
MC Beaton's Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series are two of my all-time favorites. They are relatively light, fast reads that take you away to village life and entertaining characters. One very appealing aspect is that her main characters are unlucky in love. You'll often find yourself saying, "Agatha, don't!" You will be hooked on these books!
I've always loved the Agatha Raisin books, and this one did not disappoint, especially with one final scene that had me laughing out loud! M.C. Beaton has truly conjured a character that is believable in her flaws, understandable in the denials of her various flaws, and yet manages to stay completely driven and task-oriented.
The author manages as well to keep up with current technologies, as the characters' stories shift and turn and intersect in various ways -in the "old days", in previous novels, through telephone. letters and personal visits, now also through computers, email, voicemaill and texts.
Beaton also ages "Aggie" quite convincingly - giving full testimony to her cosmetic procedures real and imagined and self-conscious attitudes about arthritis, logistical challenges with wearing stiletto heels, and her very anti-societal smoking habit. Agatha is driven by appearances - has a state of the art cell phone but has no idea how to text or email nor store phone numbers.
And the names are hilarious: I smiled every time I heard "Mrs. Bloxby" call Agatha "Mrs. Raisin", and the Church of "St. Odo the Severe"? Who would want to be a congregant there? The names were enough to send me ROFL. All of this is of course intensified by the pitch-perfect accents of the narrator, Davina Porter, who perfects an iconic tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the goings-on in Cornwall.
Only one forgivable flaw, and it's typical of the Raisin novels: there is just a bit too much action and a few too many characters. I think future stories could benefit from a bit of scaling down quantities and adding in quality, zeroing in even more on Agatha Raisin's flawed but completely lovable and relatable character.
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