Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
on 27 February 2010
I loved the early Agatha Raisin books but have to agree that the later ones are considerably weaker, marred by absurd plots and lots of very lazy and careless writing. (An example of the slapdash nature is the description of a 'Tudor' pub called the King Charles with a picture of Charles II on the sign - Tudor... I don't think so!)
Here the first couple of chapters read like a synopsis of a novel rather than the real thing, though it does get better once the story really begins.
I far prefer the books before Agatha set up her own detective agency since the latter plots are pretty thin and unbelievable. So are many of the characters, of course, especially the younger ones, but that's part of the charm of these books that they're set in a fantasy land where a teenager can run her own detective agency and be good friends with a 50-something year old woman.
Agatha is as spiky as ever, but here I felt the contradictions become too obvious, verging on the ridiculous - so a woman with an arthritic hip, too much make-up, dodgy clothes and an abrasive personality still picks up attractive men everywhere she goes...
Agatha Raisin books are a bit like meeting old friends (Mrs Bloxby and her irritable husband are my favourites) but the whole package has definitely slipped in attractiveness. Ok for a switch-your-brain-off read in the bath or bed but a far cry from the early subversiveness of this series.