Agatha Raisin has never been one for forced holiday cheer, but her friendly little village of Carsely has always prided itself on its traditional Christmas festivities. But this year the bells will not be ringing out, as Mr. John Sunday, an officer with the Cotswold Health and Safety Board, has chosen Christmas as the time to crack down on safety hazards all around the community. But he goes too far when he rules that there cannot be a Christmas tree atop the church tower this year.
Mr. Sunday is soon found face down in the petunias, very much dead. Agatha is instantly on the case, but with so many people having threatened the life of the victim, it's almost impossible to know where to start!
©2010 M. C. Beaton. All rights reserved. (P)2010 BBC Audio
Being a fan of "To the Manor Born", I feel Penelope has been cast perfectly as a narrator of some of the Agatha books. Yes, Donada Peters is wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoy all of those she has narrated--but I heartily disagree with those who have given Penelope's versions such low marks.
Agatha Raisin does not disappoint. Yes, this is light fare, but Agatha helped by the agency, the Vicker's wife, Charles, Roy, and ex-husband James gallivant through the pages doing not quite what we expect of them. It is like a visit with old friends. Perhaps not as well plotted as some of the earlier novels.
This book is not well edited and reads like a late draft rather than a completed manuscript. All the same, if you like Agatha Raisin, you'll like this one as well. I will say that M.C. Beaton must hate to end a story because this has ending after ending after ending to get through. I don't mind much because it stretches the stories out. It's a shame that Beaton did not take more time to develop characters along the way, though, as the story could have been fleshed out in a much more satisfying way. Unlike "As the Pig Turns" (the next in the series), this does "feel" like it was written by M.C. Beaton.
This is my first M.C. Beaton book and I am finding it very disappointing. I like the narrator fine and the author writes well, but the main character comes across to me as really petty and sad! She seems primarily to be a person disappointed in life. Listening to it feels like listening to someone complain, which is tiresome and depressing! I like books where the main character faces adversity and is a flawed human being, yes, but this woman's personality does not seem balanced by any real liveliness, wit, or spiritedness, which is what I look for in a heroine. It seems every few minutes mention is made of her envy, fears of seeming old, competitiveness, jealousy - her inner monologue is a catalogue of slights and rejections, etc. She seems driven by fear and envy mostly. I like listening to books with main characters I can pull for, and as much as I'd like to, I can't pull for this woman. I won't be finishing the book.
Agatha is the best English detective in the Cotswald. She proves that she is more than a busy body just bumbling around asking questions. There are several twist and turns in this book and Agatha follows them all to a satisfactory conclusion. I am definetly hooked on this series.
I love Agatha Raisin books and this book is no exception. Penelope Keith is an exceptional narrator and a treasure! I have really enjoyed listening to her voice in this series of books. Well done!
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