I am new to Agatha Raisin so I got this on a bit of a whim plus the existing reviews were very good.
I love audiobooks because they are something I can listen to while I am ironing or cooking to pass the time quicker. I did attempt to listen to them in bed for a while but I kept on nodding off and then losing my place.
Anyway, my Agatha Raisin CDs arrived just before we went on holiday. I copied the files over to my ipod (I have a brilliant little app called Audiobook and Podcast Player which has better controls than the bog standard ipod player) and I had something to listen to on the journey.
Right from the start I was captivated. Audiobooks can be a hit and miss affair depending on the narrator and I've listened to some which are really dull. Not so with this! Penelope Keith has a glorious voice to listen to - she 'acts' out the parts so well. I loved the audiobook as soon as it started and was sad when it finished.
Since listening to the Deadly Dance, I've purchased more Agatha Raisin books - some in audiobook version and some on the Kindle because I like reading books as well as listening to them.
If you've never tried Agatha Raisin books or audiobooks before - you're in for a treat.
I have become a real MC Beaton fan. Having discovered the amazing Agatha Raisin quite by accident, I also found the author's wonderful Edwardian Murder Mysteries set of four books at Christmas and read them all voraciously at a rate of practically 1 per day. Beaton has a marvellous way with words and reading her mysteries is exceedingly easy. Penelope Keith's fantastic voice make listening just as easy as reading - plus there is the added bonus of being able to enjoy another gripping mystery when circumstances prevent the reading of it (e.g. whilst driving!)
If you a fan of a nice light-hearted mystery then this will be one for you. The crimes are not totally sanitised but are certainly not the glorified gory and darkly disturbing murders that you might come across elsewhere. Agatha is again her amazing self and Penelope Keith is perfect in her pitching of the female amateur sleuth.
on 3 July 2012
Bossy, impulsive, and unlucky in love, the all-too-human Agatha Raisin has proved to be a surprisingly effective---and endearing---amateur sleuth. But can Agatha make it as a private investigator? After getting mugged on vacation, in what she will always think of as the Paris Incident, she decides to find out.
Agatha soon learns that running her own detective agency in the Cotswolds is not quite like starring in a Raymond Chandler movie. Instead of dames in distress with big shoulder pads, her clients are ladies with missing cats and a man whose son has run off with his car. Agatha even worries that she might be outclassed by her sixty-seven-year-old secretary, Emma Comfrey.
But then wealthy divorcée Catherine Laggat-Brown walks in with their first "real" case. Mrs. Laggat-Brown's daughter has received a death threat, and when Agatha thwarts an attack on the girl at a dinner dance, she recognizes an opportunity to show what Raisin Investigations can do. Even better, the case gives her a chance to reunite with her long-absent friend, Sir Charles Fraith. As they scour the Cotswolds in search of leads, Charles' insights prove invaluable and his charms irresistible, leading poor Emma to fall madly in love with him.
As ever, Agatha bumbles her way through the case, trying her friends' patience and flirting shamelessly with the chief suspect. Will she put her tiny agency on the map, or has even the outrageous Agatha finally bitten off more than she can chew?
Deadly Dance marks a great improvement in the Agatha Raisin series as she opens a detective agency in Mircester. Now, Agatha can be involved in more cases, increase the number of continuing characters in her investigations, and overcome the focus on finding an attractive man that dominated so many earlier books in the series. The main flaw in this book is that Agatha is very grumpy as the book opens, and it's not until she gets over her anger that the story becomes fully appealing. So stick with it, and you'll be well rewarded by this virtual satire of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.
Agatha decides to go to Paris alone, but her good time is spoiled when a thief on the Metro snatches her money. The French police are even more annoying when they condescend to her when she claims to be an amateur detective. Agatha returns to set up her detective agency. Her first hire turns out well when new next-door neighbor, sixty-seven-year-old Emma Comfrey, turns out to be a whiz at finding cats, getting clients to pay premium prices, and asking the right questions. Agatha is most excited, however, when Sir Charles Fraith sends a friend, Mrs. Laggat-Brown, along whose daughter, Cassandra, has received a death threat related to her forthcoming marriage to Jason Peterson, whose father has a shady past. Accompanied by Emma, the two attend Cassandra's engagement party where Agatha as usual makes a big splash.
Puzzled by who is after Cassandra, Agatha soon beefs up the detective agency with her friend, Miss Simms, a retired police officer, and various freelancers who can help track and photograph cheating spouses. Sir Charles eventually shows up and wants to join the action, as does her friend Roy Silver.
Before the book ends, you'll read about as many crimes as normally occur in three Agatha Raisin stories . . . and you'll enjoy every minute of it.
But with Agatha so busy solving cases, who will take care of her cats? And will she have time for her old friends?
I especially enjoyed this reading of the book by Donada Peters who has done well with the whole Agatha Raisin series.
I like the Agatha Raisin books and have grown to like this fiesty heroine. In earlier books she is very sure of herself but is beginning to realise that she also may have failings which makes her more believable. In this book Agatha opens her own detective agency which quickly takes off. She very rapidly moves from finding cats to finding murderers. The book is positively littered with dead bodies and you never know what is going to happen next. I was kept guessing until the last minute, and the twists and turns made me want to keep reading. For those of you who like Agatha Raisin this is a good one. For those of you who have not, then start with any of them, including this one. I really enjoyed this and would like others to enjoy it too.
I love the Agatha Raisin books. They are a little like slipping on a comfy if slightly deranged pair of old slippers! Agatha holds a very particular place in the village of Carsley which can really only be appreciated when you see her relationship with the other residents, particularly the long suffering and exceedingly pleasant vicars wife. Agatha can rub people up the wrong way, become infatuated at the drop of hat, succumb to paranoia all in the space of a few minutes.
In this book we follow the setting up her detective agency and the progression from lost cats to corpses. She surrounds herself with an eclectic staff, who all have bag fulls of issues and problems.
As for the story line, it follows the well trodden line of 'Cotswold' who-dunnit, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.
Penelope Keith's reading is perfect, and even if she does not quite embody the stocky frame of Agatha with 'bear like' eyes,her voice is just perfect.
on 20 May 2013
You often hear authors claiming they start writing a book without knowing how it will develop or end, but you never really believe them. In the case of "Agatha Raisin and the Deadly Dance" however, each turned page clearly came as a complete surprise to MC Beaton, who churns out ludicrous plot developments and ridiculous character U-turns with total abandon in a desperate bid to fill all the pages of her tiresome book. This is truly awful stuff - featuring a heroine who has no redeeming features, in a title that has no connection with the story, which in turn has no connection to credibility or interest. The only high-light on the (sadly) unabridged audiobook version of this was hearing Penelope Keith (the reader) pronounce Don Quixote as "Don Kwixoat" in the first chapter, thereby blowing her supposedly high-brow credibility. The author's credibility had been murdered long before then.
on 16 November 2011
You just know that pretty much any of the Agatha Raison books are going to feel like a pair of comfy old slippers and this one didn't let me down. I read in a previous review of one of M. C. Beaton's books that they're like Enid Blyton books for adults and it dawned on me that this was a perfect description of these works. I absolutely love them. Mystery, mayhem and humour.
In this tale we see Agatha just getting her detective agency off the ground after deciding to stay in the Cotswold's home she moved to after 'retiring' from her high powered job in London that led to the unfortunate adventure told to us in The Quiche of Death. It would appear in this book that poor Agatha has still not mastered any culinary skills, exsisting on nuked offerings courtesy of her over-used microwave and still unable to treat the very few friends she has, with the respect and attention they deserve with the exception of her two moggies.
The Deadly Dance centres around a client with a death threat, missing cats, dogs, cheating spouses and more than one dead body. Perfect mixture in what we're made to feel is a delightful, close knit Cotswold village where folk rarely call anybody by their first name but it's also a village where the majority of the residents would like to see the back of dear Agatha and all she brings down upon them, as would the local police apart from loyal 'friend' Bill Wong.
If you want to be able to lose yourself in a thoroughly enjoyable tale that keeps you making want to turn the page, then I can highly recommend this one.
M.C. Beaton is the perfect train/plane/holiday read. Her books are written to a known and agreeable formula and can be finished in one sitting. There is no pretence to the literary and characters can afford to be accommodated 2 dimensionally. This allows for page flicking - where any boring bits can be glossed over without any sense of loss.
The Agatha Raisin series, now runs into many books and this perhaps is not the best of them. Nevertheless it would provide an amusing diversion as a paperback. Earlier Raisin audio books have successfully been produced by the BBC (and read, as here, by Penelope Keith) but those were edited versions. Perhaps ironically, I have normally preferred to listen to complete recordings of unedited books.
Unfortunately, not so in the present case. One needs to read Beaton books quickly so that you get carried along with the enthusiasm but without having to plod through deficiencies in plotting and character. With the unedited audio version, you cannot easily leaf through the audio file and I find that listening to the full effect of the prose gets rather tedious. I don't blame Ms Beaton for this, merely the concept. By way of addition, for as much as I admire Ms. Keith, her reading style for this type of book is my view is not the best.
Finally, would the publisher note my view that the way the CDs are stacked in the cover is fiddly and particularly difficult if changing disks on a train. For a few pence more....
This is my 5th of the Agatha Raisin audiobook series and as always, i thoroughly enjoy them. Not necessarily for any wit in the plotline or twists and turns of the story. It is primarily, for me, the fact that Penelope Keith reads them and gives such delightful characterisation. So, as a result I am not the most critical when it comes to this series, even if sometimes the plot line does get silly! This book is not an exception to the rule, but if you are a fan, then you won't be disappointed.