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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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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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Agatha has fallen in love again with George Marston a hunky gardener/handyman. The trouble is that many of the ladies in the village of Carsely have also fallen for his rugged charms. When George is found dead in his own compost heap in a particular vicious murder involving snakes, Agatha is determined to find out who did it.

Her colleagues, Toni, Simon, Phil and Patrick are all keen to help her as they don't like to see Agatha upset. All are worried for Agatha's safety when she starts to receive some very dubious attentions from an unknown source. Agatha herself is frightened and her private life seems to be falling apart when long time friend and occasional lover Sir Charles Fraith announces his engagement.

I really enjoyed this entertaining mystery and read it in less than twenty four hours. The plot is quite complex and I liked seeing more of Agatha's employees. I like the way the series characters are developing with everyone rallying round Agatha even while they accept she can be intensely annoying at times.

There are many amusing incidents in the story and there are also many where Agatha appears at her best such as in her dealings with the rival detective agency. She jumps to conclusions and puts herself in danger but her hunches are usually good and even the police are starting to pay more attention to what she says - while at the same time treating her as a loose cannon.

There were a few darker strands in this novel with the way the villagers are turned against Agatha by a few comments made by a few people. Some of the suspects are very dubious as well yet standing above it all is Mrs Bloxby, the vicar's wife, with her aura of calm. The episode with the vicar and the talking grave is absolutely priceless. This latest in the Agatha Raisin series is well worth reading especially if you have wondered whether the character was becoming a little tired of late. M C Beaton is well on form with this one.
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VINE VOICEon 23 January 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This next episode in the investigative (and love) life of the intrepid Agatha Raisin is delightfully read by her alter ego Penelope Keith who has so enmeshed in M.C.Beaton's character that it is difficult, now, to tell them apart. Indeed should Mrs Raisin ever make it to the small screen I, for one, would be shocked to see anybody else but Ms Keith in the role.

This book rivals Midsomer in almost every way but most especially in the bizarre form of the murders executed (pun intended). In "Hiss and Hers" a one legged Lothario who romances all the unloveables in Carsley and has a history of Casanovaesque exploits in previous Oxford villages. It is no spoiler to tell you that he is discovered in a compost heap with a bag over his head that has recently been the home of a nest of deadly snakes ~ how biblical is that?

As in all the Agatha Raisin novels despite the horror of the deaths the usual suspects carry the story along at a wonderful pace and Penelope Keith's reading is a joy as she "does" all the voices from Mrs Bloxby to Roy Silver with great elan

No true fan of the series will be disappointed
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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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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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on 26 September 2012
After waiting since the beginning of the year for this audio cd, all I can say is that I was disappointed as it was not
Penelope Keith reading the book. It is read by Davina Porter who makes Agatha sound as if she is witch.
I personally have to say is that there is only one Agatha Raisin and that is Penelope Keith.

That being said once again Agatha is on the trail of the bad guy or gal
there are old characters that show up in this book and the story moves along nicely
I wont spoil it for you by telling you who the murder is.
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I must admit that I am a huge Agatha Raisin fan, and this isn't the best of her books. So saying I was awake until 3 o'clock this morning finishing this story as I lay in bed. I see this has its reviews from great to okay, but for me and surely most people the point of such books as these is that it is the literary form of comfort food. I fell in love with the character of Agatha Raisin when I first started reading these books and I religiously buy them because of her.

In places this is a bit far fetched, but then again this is humour and the madcap Aggie, who lets face it if there is an easy way or a complicated way to do things, always opts for the complex. As usual Aggie finds her romantic life being complex and never working out, and from the beginning you just know who is going to get killed first. Bumbling about though, putting her life and others in peril she always manages to solve the crime. Taking in the population of the area she has probably dealt with more murders per capita than both the Barnaby's in the 'Midsomer Murders' series, which like these books are fun escapism.

Be warned then, this isn't the best of the Aggie mysteries, but it is still a lot of fun reading it.
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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine 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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on 14 February 2017
Agatha is a little too keen on gardener George (as are many of the woman in the village) but when his body is discovered in a compost heap with a bag over his head that has recently contained a poisonous snake, it is a little too late for the romance to kindle. Instead Agatha and her team through their efforts together to help track the killer.
I am always unsure whether to leave a neutral/negative review of a book or not. My reading interests are quite far and wide and often enjoyment of a book is down to personal taste but I thought I should leave this review for others as I feel as a fan of MC Beaton a little let down. I adore her Hamish series and although never quite as fond of the Agatha series they are normally still an enjoyable light read.
So…onto the negative(s)
The murderer was pretty obvious (to me) from the beginning and there was very little in the way of the usual plot twists and misdirects. It left me feeling a little flat instead of that usual intrigue to get to the end.
The actual writing/language within this book was often quite plain and boring, not as dynamic as it has been in the Hamish series or even earlier Agatha R books. I didn’t really feel as though I got swept up in the characters and their misdemeanours as I normally would.
However… there are still positives.
Some sections of the book are very humorous and very enjoyable.

The use of Agatha’s colleagues (Toni, Simon, Phil and Patrick) and their concern for her (and the trouble she gets herself into) is a lovely dynamic and it’s nice that these characters have featured a little bit more, especially the use of Toni’s sleuthing skills.

For those that haven’t read any M.C. Beaton, think a jollier version of Agatha Christie’s work. The Hamish series is far better, so I’d recommend you start there. But overall this book was enjoyable, just not as good as the others.

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