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on 10 August 2010
`Agatha Raisin and the Fairies of Fryam' sees Agatha heading to Norfolk, again with her `wherever a finger lands on the map' routine on the word of a fortune teller she saw in her previous adventure in the seaside town of Wyckhadden. Once there she finds that really maybe she should have stayed back in her home in the village of Carsley, especially when rather ominous twinkling lights start to appear at the bottom of her rented garden. However when the lord of the manor is murdered Agatha decides to stay on before being forced to when police discover a draft of a book Agatha started (to show off to all new acquaintances in the village that she is a budding author) has the exact same opening murder scene as the one they found at the manor. Agatha therefore feels she has no choice, or so she tells herself, but to clear her name by finding the real killer.

I don't really know why but this one didn't work as well for me as Agatha's adventures in amateur detecting normally do with me. There seemed to be too many characters and strands, which didn't even become red herrings, and yet nothing really happened either - oh apart from a Stubbs painting getting stolen. Then when the murderer was caught the motive felt a bit `meh' and it didn't all seem to make sense. It lacked something and sort of, and I feel mean saying this because I do love this series despite how uncool or unliterary it may make me, felt rather like a filler in the series. Yet something happens towards the very end, rather too hurriedly if you ask me, that if you missed this book you might feel thrown between the books on either side of this one. I am hoping this is just a small blip in a rather wonderful cosy crime series.
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In this tenth book of this amusing contemporary cozy mystery series, the indomitable Agatha Raisin is trying to recover from her heartache she feels over James Lacey, who happens to be not only her neighbor but the love of her life, as well. Since he is actively avoiding her, she takes to heart the words of a fortuneteller, who advises her that Norfolk is where she should be. So, Agatha impulsively leaves her home in the Cotswolds and rents a cottage in the village of Fryfam.

Unfortunately, Agatha's expectations are not met. There are problems with the cottage. The local yokels are less than friendly. There are mysterious lights in her garden for which there is no reasonable explanation. Still, Agatha is not easily deterred, and she tries desperately to fit in with the village locals. Then one of the villagers dies under mysterious circumstances. Agatha immediately gets into the fray, only to find herself a suspect.

When her friend, Sir Charles Fraith, pays her a visit, he joins her in her investigative efforts. Let the games begin! What follows is typical Agatha Raisin. There are many twists and turns, as Agatha, our ever engaging heroine, bumbles along as she tries to discover just who is up to no good. Fans of our heroine will not be disappointed.

As always, the dialogue is laced with humor and moves the plot along at a brisk pace, and the book is peppered with a host of quirky characters that entertain the reader. Agatha herself is entertaining as always, as she engages in her investigative efforts. This is a highly addictive series that makes its fans race off to get the next volume.
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Fryfam, a remote village in Norfolk. Time has passed by (one suspects rather hurriedly) - many locals weird, odd things happening. There Agatha plans to spend winter. Cue for local police soon to be busier than for ages....

Uneasy amidst surly glances and mutterings, disappearances and those mysterious lights sometimes bobbing at the bottom of the garden, Agatha craves companionship. Enter randy baronet Charles Fraith, substitute nowadays for the elusive James Lacey.

This tenth novel works better than recent offerings, provided one does not hope for credibility. To avoid neighbour James, Agatha chose Fryfam by closing her eyes and sticking a pin in a map, then agreeing to rent a cottage she had not seen. (With M.C. Beaton creaking contrivances are positively flaunted.) Addicts will not mind - happy to relax with the saga of a stolen painting, murdered "squire", missing will, passionate undercurrents, the obligatory "in the nick of time" climax.

The "fairies" are more intriguing that the recent "wizard" and "witch", but one feels this aspect could have been developed more strongly. There is the bonus of a cliffhanger end, all who know Agatha convinced that A MISTAKE HAS BEEN MADE.

For me the Hamish Macbeth novels work better, but with him and Agatha M.C. Beaton has created two splendidly rich characters. Both perhaps deserve more finely crafted adventures.
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on 17 November 2009
This is the tenth Agatha Raisin I have read. I can't put these books down once I start, Agatha is both very frustrating and yet has the naivety of a young girl, I could at one and the same time shake her yet feel sorry for her. I find myself at times laughing out loud. Anyone who has not yet read any of these books start with The Quiche of Death which is the first in the series, and go from there, I guarantee you will love them.
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Agatha Raisin decides to rent a cottage in Norfolk to see if she likes living there because a fortune teller told her that she would find her destiny in the county. It soon becomes clear there are many goings on in Fryfam that the villagers really don't want to talk about. The strange lights which appear to be fairies is one of the things it's best not to ask about even when things start disappearing from your house. Agatha, being Agatha, soon gets involved with the villagers as well as the nouveau riche Tolly and his wife. When Tolly is murdered Agatha, naturally starts asking questions.

Mrs Bloxby - Agatha's friend, the vicar's wife - does a spot of stirring and encourages Sir Charles Fraith, Agatha's occasional lover and friend, to visit her in Fryfam. But Agatha is still pining for her erstwhile fiancé James Lacey. The local police soon have Agatha well in their sites for the murder because of a series of misunderstandings and coincidences which gives Agatha something else to think about. I liked the portrait of a Norfolk village - which, having lived in Norfolk myself seems pretty true to life plus or minus a few fairies.

I liked the way Agatha's relationship with Sir Charles is developing in an unconventional way and how they work together to try and solve the case. I also liked the way the rest of the characters were developed. This is an interesting series with plenty of reasonably complex plots, not too much violence and some enjoyable series characters such as Sir Charles, James Lacey, Mrs Bloxby and of course Agatha's cats - Hodge and Boswell
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VINE VOICEon 1 June 2013
Agatha Raisin is back again but she is still trying to get away from Carsely and her unrequited love of James Lacey. Deciding that she does not want to spend the Autumn there she rents a cottage in Norfolk and takes herself and her cats off to Fryfam.

But if you know Agatha, you know it is not going to be a relaxing visit, Agatha cannot do relaxing. When some mysterious lights appear at the bottom of the garden, she is rather spooked but all the locals who welcome want her to do is not mention them. It seems moving from one village in the Cotswolds to Norfolk does not change the way the village ladies think and act.

To impress the villagers who are curious a to why she wants to rent a cottage in Norfolk in October, she tells them she is a budding author. To live up to that, Agatha starts to write a novel Death at the Manor, and you know what is going to happen next, don't you... there is a death at the local Manor and Agatha is the last person to see them alive...Agatha is yet again embroiled in the middle of a murder case and she is going to have clear her name.

All this is going on you would think that Agatha could put James out of her mind, but frequent phone calls back to Carsely just means that Agatha is even more desperate to be with James even if everyone thinks it is a bad idea. She needs to solve not just the murder to make her happier, Agatha needs to solve her love life too.
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I have just finished reading this story and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good to have Agatha out of her normal setting and finding life and people in another village more difficult than Carsley. The murder investigation is a good who dun it and with the help of Sir Charles they manage to establish who was responsible in the nick of time. The big surprise is what happens when Agatha returns home. I am now starting off Love from Hell.
M C Beaton writes in an easy to read style. These paper back editions are great value.
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on 16 April 2012
I love reading aggie series but this book just didnt work for me, i found it to be very boring and i'm kind of getting bored of the same storyline..Agatha's character doesn't seem to be moving on and i wish it would!! I'm kinda of wishing i didnt order all of the series lol guess i am going to have to finish the rest of the series
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on 24 July 2013
I tend to devour MCB's Hamish and Agatha Raisin books, so much so that I now ration myself so that I don't run out. As a writer myself I'd love to know MC's secret that makes me so addicted to both of these very different main characters. The books are very much in the Agatha Christie/Midsummer Murders mould in that there are usually numerous murders that take place in a very amiable way. Where M.C. Beaton scores over other crime writers is the quality of her main characters. Agatha Raisin is a brilliant creation (I heard the Radio 4 adaptation which I thought missed the target completely.) Agatha is a complex mixture of strength and bombast that is always undermined by an innate albeit well hidden insecurity. These books won't be everyone's cup of tea but if you want an escape from the harshness of modern life, give them a try.
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on 29 July 2001
Beaton knows how to combine a murder mystery with the new age-ism/tradition of the wee folk. Do we believe, or not? And if not, how do we explain the strange happenings in this strange little town?
Not to be taken too seriously, this is a great little book for lounging on a summer's day, or curled up by the fireplace while snow swirls outside.
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