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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This M.C. Beaton Agatha Raisin audiobook adaptation is the second of those read by Penelope Keith I have come across, and I'm more than pleased by both experiences. Keith makes a perfect Agatha and the story is read with light touches of humour - although the murder rate in Agatha's Cotswolds seems rather higher than the one of my experience!

The full story is read in a well-produced set comprising an impressive 6 CDs. At over 6 hours of listening, it's definitely one for instalments or long car journeys!
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Review most appropriate to the the AudioCD version of the book

An earlier book from the series, this one introduces Toni as a detective and also gives us more of an insight into Agatha Raisin's intriguing background ... as well as what it was that turned her into a Private Detective.

As with the others, it begins with local, light-weight problems, and leads to murder.

As usual, it is light-hearted and gentle, but with good insight into village communities.

Well read by Penelope Keith, this is an enjoyable story and a great way to pass the time - particularly at this time of year, when many of us have long journeys to make!
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is my second Agatha Rasin and am already annoyed that I'm doing them out of order,however this one comes with a very brief and handy intro at the start

Read by the wondeful Penelope Keith who also does the main character in the couple of radio dramatisations as well so she is certainly familiar with the character and certainly brings it to life

I was looking forward to (and subsequently slightly disappointed by) this novel. The reason I was optimistic is because the synopsis implies it is a very standard murder mystery (Agatha receives a letter from a woman saying someone in her family is trying to kill her) it is very Agatha Christie in its theme

Unfortunately it isn't. The book focuses very much on the friends and colleagues of Agatha including the new apprentice detective Toni and the murder seems very much on the sidelines

In fact, although the book is over 6 discs, the murder is wrapped up by disc 5, the whole of 6 is Agatha tying up loose ends at her home and agency. Perhaps if I was more familiar with the books and characters I would have enjoyed this more, but I was really more after a festive whodunnit.

I enjoyed it, but felt slightly ambivalent when it ended
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VINE VOICEon 23 November 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Agatha Raisin is a modern day 50-something bossy lady detective, full of normal everyday insecurities, working in the Cotswolds from her small detective agency. Alongside the main plot (in this case, a Poirot-style murder) we are treated to wonderful glimpses of Agatha juggling the mundane minutia of Agatha's working life - missing pets, divorce cases, staffing issues etc.

I like the fact that background references are reasonably upto date - for example a starting wage of £6 per hour, or reference to the impending recession that we are now in the throes of.

Light humour (not laugh out loud) is woven throughout the tale, which is beautifully read by Penelope Keith. Characterisation is clear and it is always easy to follow the plot and to tell who is speaking. I think it helps that Penelope also plays Agatha Raisin in the BBC play productions, so she is familiar with the characters.

There are 6 cds in the box, each cd is printed with the Christmas scene on the box and the box is of good quality. It woud make a good Christmas gift for a mother or aunt.

This audio book certainly managed to keep my interest - I began listening to this yesterday morning, and couldn't stop til it was finished six and a half hours later!

I heartily recommend it.
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This unabridged book was pleasant enough listening for some long journeys, but not earth-shattering. Penelope Keith was wonderful as Agatha but rather grating when she impersonated some of her more squarky characters.

Agatha becomes embroiled in a murder mystery surrounding Mrs Tamworthy and her offspring and their spouses. Mrs Tamworthy has managed to upset, not only her whole family but also the whole village, with her plans to sell off the manor house and build a technical college.
Strangely enough she suspects that someone may be trying to murder her and there are plenty of suspects for the murderer.

I listened to this around Christmas time for a bit of Christmas spirit, but only the final CD was at all festive - possibly a good thing if you're thinking of listening to it in June!

I liked the character of Toni, Agatha's new assistant, and I had a few chuckles during the telling, but overall it was fairly mediocre - 3 1/2 stars, if I could.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 January 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've liked all the other agatha raisin audiobooks, but this one seems much more a caricature than a humorous detective story which the other ones are. I also was disappointed with the way the author describes the Lancashire region as constantly grey and dreary and the same for describing any of any Northern characters. It seemed a bit prejudiced and much more than just tongue in cheek, and poorly represents England. If you haven't read any of the Raisin series, then don't start here. Try one of the earlier or later ones. There is a sequence to them, but not in the mysteries themselves (they're self contained) , just in the back story of Agatha, her love exploits and her friends and staff. I've listened to them out of sequence and have enjoyed them, but other people might prefer to go right to the beginning.

My favourite ones in the series so far have been "deadly dance", "busy body" and, best of all for me, "as the pig turns" for it's sizzling start .
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VINE VOICEon 8 December 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This story is a mix of Agatha Raisin's early life in a tower block with her unemployed parents which is paralled with her new 17 year old investigator, Toni who also comes from a very dysfunctional family. Agatha sees a lot of herself in Toni, but has black moods when Toni is able to solve cases before even Agatha can stumble across the solution. During the story Agatha swings from being kind to Toni - providing a flat, driving lessons and an old banger -through to having to give Toni the credit for some of the cases that she solves. If that's not enough Toni is so young -life is just not fair for poor old Agatha!

The case Agatha has to solve is that of a grumpy old Scrooge-like wealthy woman called Phylis Tamworthy who lives in a manor house. She thinks one of her kids wants to bump her off. Why? Because she wants to give her money to the building of a new college -not to her kids. If that's not enough, the old trout owns the land and property which the local villagers live in..rent free. But that won't last so they are possible suspects if she is bumped off. Will she be bumped off? Listen to the story.

Suffice to say there is some nasty hemlock involved, an ancient gardener who says he can tell tales if need be -(not such a bright thing to say!)

If that's not enough there is witchcraft and "goings on" with the village folk (they don't get out enough if you ask me). Will all of the villagers be whiter than white? What do you think!

There is more dirt to be dished up. Agatha and -especially Toni, find that Phylis has a murky past. Has Phylis left a trail of skeletons in the cupboard..or the privy?

Will Toni's brother, Terry or Phylis's son Jimmy reach the end of the story in one piece? Will Phylis's kids in general have a happy ever after together ending?

Will Agatha get the white Christmas that she yearns for and the Christmas get together she has been planning? She even bought a new cooker! And will her ex husband James turn up and knock her off her feet again?

There is plenty to keep your attention in the 6 CD pack. Again it is read by Penelope Keith who proves that she has many more voices than just her "To the Manor Born" posh one.

A very enjoyable audio CD -especially in this Christmas season!
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VINE VOICEon 5 December 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This a complete and unabridged version of Agatha Raisin Kissing Christmas Goodbye beautifully read by Penelope Keith (from The Good life). The story is on six CD's and lasts for 6 hours 30 minutes.

The story begins by telling how Agatha Raisin; a woman in her early fifties ends up running her own private detective agency. Agatha has had a harsh upbringing with drunken, shoplifting work-shy parents and can't wait to get away from home. She regrettably marries the first man who makes eyes at her; Jimmy Raisin, and doesn't have much success with her subsequent husband; James Lacey either. However, Agatha is obsessed with James and with planning the perfect Dickensian Christmas party in a bid to win him back.

Agatha needs help with her detective agency and employs a beautiful young girl named Toni Gilmore who turns out to be a very good detective but has personal issues very similar to what Agatha suffered as a teenager. This begrudgingly bring out the motherly side of Agatha but she also feels threatened by Toni's youthful energy and good looks.

A few weeks before Christmas Agatha receives a letter from Mrs Tamworthy who says that her family are trying to kill her. Agatha takes her friend Sir Charles to Mrs Tamworthy's manor house to see if the old girl has gone batty and is just imagining things. Regrettably, Mrs Tamworthy is indeed poisoned whilst they are at dinner with her whacky family and it falls on Agatha to discover which one of them has committed the crime.

During her investigations Agatha takes Toni with her to find out about Mrs Tamworthty's past. Toni makes a gruesome discovery in an old toilet which casts a shadow over Mrs Tamworthy's character and shines light on why her family are disjointed and not the most sane people in the world.

This is the first Agatha Raisin book that I have listened to and I found it to be enjoyable in small doses. Penelope Keith reads the story very well but I found that I got a bit confused with her characters as most of them sounded the same. This didn't stop me from enjoying the story but I had to listen to it again to fully grasp who was who. (Probably having a 'blonde' moment!)
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I listened to all of this story over several days on the run up to Christmas and found it most entertaining. Penelope Keith reads the story with gusto and her characterisations are excellent throughout. I like the anti establishment undertone and the often witless upper crust families. The story kept my interest and I wanted to put on the next disc as soon as possible. More of the same please M C Beaton old thing!
Nicely packaged with sturdy case and spindle. Lovely cover art and certainly an ideal Christmas gift. Good price too.
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VINE VOICEon 13 December 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is an Agatha Raisin story by MC Beaton. (the 18th)

Mulled wine, roasting chestnuts...and murder. M C Beaton's imperfect heroine Agatha Raisin Agatha is dreaming of a white Christmas - but who will be joining her under the mistletoe? During the dark, grey days of early December Agatha is obsessed by only two things - Christmas, and her ex, James Lacey. Although she says she feels nothing for James now, she feels sure that planning the perfect Dickensian Christmas for all her friends will somehow reanimate her love. Even the murder of a Mrs Tamworthy, poisoned with hemlock at the local manor house, does little to distract Agatha from organising her perfect yuletide celebrations.

And yet Mrs Tamworthy had written to Agatha, telling her that one of her family wanted to see her dead before the year was out. Slightly guiltily (and belatedly), Agatha sets out to solve the case with the help of her new recruit, young Toni Gilmour. There are more murders and attempted murders along the route as the dreamy village setting proves rather more sinister.

Agatha is an interesting character - a bit of a hard nosed Miss Marple crossed with a mix of soft inner dreams and sharp, grumpy sniping.

This was an enjoyable listen, with a superb delivery by Penelope Keith who slips between "yokel" and posh with consummate ease and really brings Aggie to life. beguiles the time away nicely!
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