I love this series and adore Carsely and its inhabitants, but that doesn't mean I love everything about each character or plot. This series is like a friend whose faults you see but love them anyway. I am extremely fond of Bill Wong and Mrs. Bloxby, and my favorite scenes are those that include them. Mrs. Bloxby is a logical friend for Agatha, but because of Bill's age, he isn't, and I find that refreshing.
This episode in Agatha's life was entertaining and a welcomed read. However, I was disappointed in the fact that Agatha lied about her husband's existence in order to hurry her wedding along. I thought the Agatha I had come to know was much smarter and much more honest than to do something illegal, but it seems her deception knows no bounds. My dislike of James Lacey is growing with each book, but I can't fault him with being very upset with Agatha in this instance. I was also unpleasantly surprised that Agatha's `friend' Roy Silver acted in such an underhanded manner. I had thought he was a person whom Agatha could trust, but this was not the case.
I'm continually exasperated with the author's portrayal of James and Agatha's relationship. It's as though Ms. Beaton wants to provide us with a complicated love story but finds it beyond her scope. At the same time, I get the impression that the author is attempting to improve Agatha's physical appearance in her readers' imaginations, but ever since she described her in The Quiche of Death as stocky with bear-like eyes, I have to fight the vision of Hyacinth Bucket. As usual, the murderer is easy to spot, but this doesn't bother me because I read cozies for the characters, not the mystery.
Best of M. C. Beaton or not, Agatha, James, Bill, and Mrs. Bloxby (my favorite villager) and the Cotswold village of Carsely are great fun and a delightful way to escape the stress and/or boredom of a gloomy winter's day.