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Saturday, 28 April 2012

Book Review - Agatha Raisin and The Haunted House

This is actually the tenth book in the series from Hamish McBeth creator, M C Beaton, though the first I've read. I'd discovered the character via the excellent Radio 4 series based on the books, so I knew much of the back story. Mind you I'll have to find out how Agatha came to marry James Lacey and then separate - the last I'd heard on the radio series James and Agatha were reeling after Agatha's long thought dead husband turned up on what was to be their wedding day.

Reading through the above sounds like I've fallen for the delights of chick lit, but the Agatha Raisin series are best summed up as cozy crimes. They are devilishly clever and all end with a Scooby Doo moment when the killer/thief/knicker snatcher is caught and quickly reveals all in a, "drat you've caught me" type speech. Though it's not all butter scones, cups of tea and village gossip and the book does contains it's fair share of insightful looks at the state of play in modern Britain.

Agatha is a great character - a brash, chain smoking ex PR guru who has relocated to the Cotswolds and become something of a amateur detective of excellence.

One of the stand out characters in the radio series is Agatha's camp gay friend, Roy but in this book his characterization seems different, not exactly weaker... though perhaps not as fully rounded. Still Roy had a minor part in this one and so I'm not sure if he will be more flushed out in other books in the series. I'll soon find out, though because as soon as I'd finished this book I visited my local W H Smiths and bought three more books in the series, and so in summing up how good this book is I will let those actions speak louder than words.

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