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313
4.2 out of 5 stars
Agatha Raisin: Hiss and Hers
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2013
Have loved reading 'Agatha' and 'Hamish' in the past, sadly with all the other books MC Beaton now churns out I feel she now insults her fans with this rubbish. Last couple have been no better than short stories,its like they have become a rush to finish and get out of way. Sorry MC but I will not be buying any more. Give up if thats the best you can be bothered to do!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 24 February 2013
I adore agatha however I feel like mcb has churned this one out without the usual careful plot. In fact I found it very dull and it really would make me consider purchasing again if mcb doesn't take the time to change the script a bit from the usual plot lines. I always enjoy the books that are set when agatha goes abroad and James needs more of a part or maybe the ladies of carsley could go on a ladies holiday especially as we have now been introduced to mrs bloxby actually leaving the country let alone carsley!!
Room for improvement.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2013
Perhaps I read too many of the books (actually all of them) but it was pretty clear from the beginning who the murderer is. The writing style is getting worse and again when reading of Simon's parents I got so angry that I couldn't concentrate on the rest of the book. His parents died in a car crash for heaven's sake. Yet in the last and in this book they are running around like Lazarus only that nobody notices the wonder!

And maybe, just maybe it is a bad thing having read all the books because the gaps in the character works are so visible it hurts my eyes and especially my intellect. The books have become more sloppy with every new story, the language is flat and the sentences careless. I have the impression that after the success of the first books the new ones have to follow each other as quickly as possible. So already the very first draft, which normally is being read and re-read and corrected etc, gets published and carted off to the book store without a second thought.

As I said, I read every books so far but with the latest books it grew harder and harder to ignore the lack of quality and inspiration. So that I am giving up now. I read to enjoy myself and not to see how beloved characters are being bullied around without past nor future.

I just want to make clear that I blame this not only on the author but also on the publishers. Shame on you for ruining a series that began so promising.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 9 February 2013
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Marion Chesney is an impressively prolific and popular writer and in the guise of 'M C Beaton' she has published a string of 'Agatha Raisin' books and this was my opportunity to sample her work. Hiss and Hers is the twenty-third Agatha Raisin story and I listened to the story on a set of six CD's read by Penelope Keith.

I understand from reading other reviews on Amazon that this is not the best book in the series and I must say I was very disappointed with the whole experience. I found the storyline totally inane, the characters insipid and even the consummate actress Penelope Keith, 'the voice of Agatha', could not engage my interest.

I am sure M C Beaton has her loyal fans - but, alas, I shall not be joining them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2013
I was introduced to the Agatha Raisin books quite a while ago and I must have enjoyed the first one because I've read others on and off over the years. I won't be reading any more. Although, in the interest of fairness, I might go back and re-read the original one to see whether it's the book or my taste in reading that has changed. If I'm being kind then this book wasn't very good but if I'm being honest I thought that it was puerile. I won't be giving any plot spoilers because, just a few weeks after reading it, I couldn't tell you what the point of it was. I remember 'who dunnit' but I have no idea why. Character-wise, I imagine that Agatha is supposed to be a strong, modern woman but to me she came across as self-centred and petulant.
As a person who will read anything form Chick-Lit to Chaucer, I have no wish to offend devoted followers of M. C. Beaton. However, if an author is making a living by selling their wares to those same followers, I think that they should be treated with some respect. I don't remember what I paid for my copy but even at the reduced price, it wasn't worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 22 January 2013
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Agatha Raisin begins her latest adventure by shamelessly pursuing (along with most of the other single women in her village) one of its newest residents, George the gardener, who has blond streaks in his hair as well as a war injury. Sadly, her pledge to take a rest from her sleuthing business doesn't last long...

Although I'm a fan of M.C. Beaton I much prefer the Hamish Macbeth series. I think this is because the residents of Lochdubh are so amusingly varied. In Agatha's Cotswold community everyone is very middle class and it can be hard to tell characters apart, although Penelope Keith helps by doing a sterling job of getting her mouth round various accents.

I think Agatha fans will enjoy this outing but I may confine myself to her Scottish stablemate in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 23 February 2013
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
While I have heard a few of the Agatha Raisin series but not all of them, and certainly not in order, I find I don't need to know what happened in the previous books to enjoy the latest one. Where you need to know about the past, it tells you so newcomers need not feel they need start with the first book in the series.

There is a great imagination at work here; the characters are varied, the plot largely unpredictable, the mysteries original and the writing brilliant. There are one or two catch phrases but, despite being huge, there is no repetitive or clichéd dialog and each section feels new if somewhat detached from reality. It pays scant regard to forensics, CCTV, autopsies, experts or the fantastic tricks with computers that variously dominate many crime dramas and concentrates instead on intuition, witness statements and guesses.

If you're looking for a gritty, realistic crime drama Agatha Raisin is certainly not it. `Hiss and Hers' cannot quite be called `gentle' it's certainly genteel, set in a largely upper-middleclass village where people have money and are not tied to grim, nine to five jobs. With the rural idyll and titled persons, combined with the style of detection, there is more of Miss Marple here than there is of CSI, but it would be unfair to say it is like Miss Marple. Agatha is her own woman.

Penelope Keith, who also stars as Agatha in the BBC radio dramatisations, is the only voice used in this unabridged reading and while she's brilliant as Agatha and good as the many of the other characters she can give a whining, sometimes almost screeching, caricature of a voice to some of the lesser characters, especially those who are common. Otherwise her performance is good.

The CD set is supplied in the usual Audio Go oversized box with all the disks stacked on a single spindle, the only drawback to it being it is too tall to fit in a normal CD rack. I find this a particular nuisance in the car as I have to leave the box lying around on whatever surface is not in use.

This is a decent audio book, but it is not much more than that. I prefer the BBC full cast dramatisations to the readings by Penelope Keith but they are usually quite good, though I've enjoyed some of the others more than this one. I did not find myself falling into the story and wanting to find out what comes next. Good, but not great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the first time I have listened to an audio tape of an Agatha story and I was extremely impressed by Penelope Keith's ability to turn a slight story into a very pleasurable listening event - enjoyable even though I was ironing every time I switched on! A few years back one of the members of my local reading group recommended Agatha Raisin as an antidote to a particularly dire read we had just finished. The Agatha Raisin stores are definitely not great literature but light hearted fun and Agatha's ability to fall in love with the most unsuitable people is becomes more enjoyable the more of her adventures you read. This is - I think - about her twenty third adventure & predictably enough she falls for a new arrival to her home town, George a handsome gardener. Unfortunately for agatha,despite his apparent partiality for middle aged ladies he seems to be immune to her charms and rather desperate overtures. Disappointed by his failure to turn up to a village event she tracks him down to his compost heap where he lies murdered! Naturally Agatha perceives it to be her `duty' to find George's murderer - does she succeed - read or listen and find out! Keith's own voice is absolutely `right' for Agatha but it is her ability to vocalise the other characters that makes these CDs. I have listened to other tapes where the reader [if male] is really bad at voicing female characters or [if female] really bad at voicing men. Keith slips effortlessly from one to the other. I shall definitely be seeking out other stories read by Penelope Keith.fjs
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Very occasionally, you come across something that proves really quite a pleasant surprise and this certainly applies to Agatha Raisin.

I had seen the books in my local Waterstones but had dismissed them as possible beach reads and probably would have remained ignorant of her excellent detective agency had it not been for receiving this audio book and settling down to listen to the story on car journeys to and from work.

Penelope Keith as the narrator is the ideal person to portray Agatha and tell her story and I was struck to find the character rang chords of sympathy with me. This is like Miss Marple but with a little more bite and brought bang up to date - this time with a middle-aged divorcee with bear like eyes who indulges in non-surgical facelifts. Agatha runs a detective agency in a Cotswold village and, when the story opens, she has fallen hopelessly in love with the village handyman, George. Unfortunately, he fails to reciprocate despite her efforts but she later discovers that his attentions have been widespread.

Agatha plans a ball to entrap George but he is found murdered and, from then on, the story continues with a large gallery of suspects. We have a soap star and a fair number of village ladies who would appear likely candidates and our heroine is determined to find the guilty party.

Adding to the amusement, is the appearance of James, the ex husband and her would be boyfriend, Sir Charles Fraith, who is incredibly mean. There are also the detective agency employees, the star struck Simon, and Toni who get into terrible scrapes. Into the mix also goes a listening device, a vexed vicar, the local police, further murders and some attempted ones plus Agatha's cats (and the odd lost one). This is indeed a convoluted tale but it does not bore for a minute.

After six hours' listening the story concludes with a satisfying ending. I was pleased and, who knows, I may even go and buy some of the actual books?

Yes, definitely worth a listen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 17 February 2013
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I managed to acquire this book in audio format. It is read by the excellent Penelope Keith, who, several years ago, was my first introduction to the Agatha Raisin stories, when I chanced upon a reading on BBC Radio 4 Extra. She was, consequently, my first impression of Agatha but, I genuinely believe that it would have been Ms Keith's voice that I would have put to the feisty detective even were I to have encountered the books, prior to the radio series. I might well have had the actress in my mind's eye too, even allowing for the fact that she is rather more attractive than the description of our eponymous sleuth.

If you are new to this series of crimes, you will soon decide as to whether they are to your taste, or no: they are gently humorous tales without graphic detail of horrendous torture, mutilation and painful death, as seems almost a pre-requisite of most modern day crime fiction. Police procedure is also noticeable by its absence. The characters, whilst exaggerated versions of real people, are much more important, and the crime is, inevitably, solved by Raisin's understanding of the criminals mindset. Do not buy these books if you are after glamour, fast moving World wide trips to the exotic and explicit scenes of a sexual nature because, you will be seriously disappointed. Mrs Raisin has a very different temperament to Agatha Christie's Marple, but the idea of events unfolding within a quite St Mary Mead type village are very similar.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, as I have other books in the series. Ms. Beaton has that ability, shared with the best detective fiction writers, of being able to lead the reader up the garden path and then, allowing him/her to arrive at a solution, a paragraph or so before the detective. I shall not give any details herein as to whom the murderer of George Marston, the philandering gardener, might be; I would be amaze, however, were you to rumble the denouement ahead of the final chapter.

Personally, I should have bought the paper version of this work, as I prefer to read than to listen but, the six one hour discs are superbly narrated, as one would expect, by Penelope Keith (I haven't let slip my attraction to this actress, have I?) and the inclination to spend an entire day listening to them, one after another, was almost, too great to resist. I must, guiltily admit that I shall listen to these discs more than once - I am blessed with a brain that can remember all sorts of trivia, but which manages to obliterate all reminiscence of the last few pages of a whodunnit within a few days!

A good entertaining read/listen - first class!
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