I have been reading the Agatha Raisin books in order, over several years - one every 3 months or so, when I want a soothing read that is amusing and light. Bedtime cosy reading is something that anyone who has read my reviews before knows that I read concurrently with more exciting or demanding books that I tackle during the daytime hours. Thus, I sleep better.
When I read the Agatha Raisin books, I positively 'itch' to edit them, to smooth out the rough edges, to find a subtler phrase than the author can be bothered search for. I have become more and more convinced over the years that these books are 'first drafts' and that nobody is allowed to edit them to make them better. It is a shame, the plots are there, a bit shaky at times, but all the ingredients jostle for place, all they lack is the patience (or maybe the time, since M. C. Beaton is so prolific)to improve them.
Never mind, I have got used to series now, and I have to say that this book has quite a convoluted plot, maybe a few too many murders (is she vying with the TV series, Midsomer Murders?)but all the mad ingredients are still there. Agatha, her trusty sidekick, Sir Charles, a new young woman, Toni - I do hope Toni will stay, have a feeling she would be too much competition for our redoubtable detective.
I enjoyed Kissing Christmas Goodbye - Agatha Raisin is my guilty pleasure and one that I keep secret from my friends and family. She is a bit like me, outspoken, puts her foot in things, yet has a heart of gold. And speaking of gold, where does she get all her money! It has always been explained away that she was a high-flyer in the City, a lovely fairy story. A great cosy and recommended if you can bear the rather slapdash approach.