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==Synopsis of the book:==
Following a poor Christmas for the shops in the Cotswolds area of Carsley the people decide to throw a celebratory hog roast to attract more tourists to the area. Agatha Raisin decides to support this idea with her friend from work Toni. However trouble as always follows this middle age amateur Detective and she notices the spit pig is actually a dead man as Agatha. The Police are immediately called as Agatha noticed the charred body had a tattoo on it.
The Police quickly discover the dead man is one of their own an unpopular Policeman called Gary Beech. This brings Mrs Raisin into the frame as he recently ticketed her twice and she proclaimed only a few days before that she would like to kill this horrible man. Luckily her reputation as a local character and a private investigator helps her get quickly illuminated from the enquiry. But no sooner has this happened by the dead mans ex-wife contacts her Agency asking her to find out who killed him.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I found this a gentle but quite enjoyable murder mystery. It was certainly not the most complex thriller I have ever read but there was always enough happening within it to keep me interested. For me a feature of this series is they are quite simple stories that always have more than a touch of humour within them and this story was no different from that. For me they are an easy read as the concept within the story and the investigation itself is never to difficult to follow.
At the time of writing there are 23 books in the Agatha Raisin series, with this being the penultimate story, which was first published in 2011. This English author M.C.Beaton in addition to this very popular series has also written the Hamish MacBeth series of mysteries. These have additionally been transferred to television. I have read and enjoyed both series and I particularly like the settings the author uses MacBeth stories are set in the Highland of Scotland and the Raisin ones in a village in the middle of the Cotswolds.
I selected this story basically because I have enjoyed about half a dozen of these stories so far but not recently so I thought it was time I tried another one in the series. These are light hearted thrillers that do not take themselves too seriously and even the lead character is often the butt of the humour within the story. This story was no different and through excellent descriptions from the author I can feel and picture the funny scene she is involved in.
What initially attracted me to this book was the unusual cover. It had a picture of a pig on a roast with an apple in its mouth and a tattoo on its back above a fire. It was tastefully done and had an element of wit within it. I flicked the book over to find out what it was about but instead of finding the summary I found general praise for this series by various publications. Once again for someone who knows this series this is irrelevant as I would much rather read about what people thought specifically about the book I am about to read.
I found the summary of the story on the inside cover. If I hadn't decided I would purchase this book before this certainly sold me it. It was a good two paragraphs long and set the scene for the story very well. I liked the tongue in cheek humour within it and looked forward to learning what mischief Agatha Raisin would get into in this novel. As there seemed plenty going on in the summary and I really liked the concepts raised by it.
When I started reading the story I found it very easy to get into. I certainly think it helps that I have read several of the series so I have a good idea what to expect and I know the main characters quite well within it. What really appeals to me about this series is the lead character within the story despite being a good Private Investigator is very human. By this I mean she is far from perfect and this really endears her to me as she will do silly things and make mistakes. That can be very funny and entertaining for the reader.
I liked the way the story developed although I did feel I was not reading anything new within it. Indeed at times I did wonder if I had read this story previously as it seemed strangely familiar. However having said that it was always interesting and I never knew what the strange twists and turns the author would employ next. As I never had a clue what would happen next in the story and I always think that is a bonus as I like to be surprised.
The story had a good feel and good pace about it. It was very easy to read and while I enjoyed it I did not feel it stretched me when I was reading it and made me think too much about what was happening or why. Yes it was still enjoyable and entertaining it just lacked the complex story that many murder mysteries have. Which is fine if you want an easy thriller that will not make you think too much and is made up with various levels of humour within it.
At certain times in the story I found what I was reading impossible to believe. I will try not to give to much away but it involved a kidnap and a natural event. It for me detracted from the story and even made me consider stop reading because it was so hard to believe in. Luckily I stuck with it and I did enjoy the rest of the story, again it was at times a little hard to believe in. At least we did get an exciting ending and during this all the lose ends were resolved within the story.
Within this series and this book there are several characters that appear in all of them. Of course there is the lead character Agatha Raisin who is always entertaining, sometimes annoying, sometimes funny and sometimes even intelligent. She is a one off who cannot do anything quietly and seems to attract mischief and action. I still an not sure if I like her personally but she is always worth reading about and I like her adventures. She is supported by an array of colourful characters and I enjoy the way she interacts with them.
The books length was about right to tell an entertaining story. Yes you could argue that it lacked depth within it, but for me the story like Agatha Raisin never takes itself too seriously and was an enjoyable yarn. There was in theory suspense and mystery within it but for me this never flowed as what was happening within the story and the humour within it seemed far more prevalent. For my money this would be the idea story for a holiday not too deep just a well thought out thriller with humour within it.
On balance I would just about recommend this crime thriller. My reasoning is based on the concepts behind the story and the unexpected way the story developed. Added to which I enjoyed the subtle and not so subtle humour within it. Maybe as a result of this I did not find the murder and trying to find out who was responsible for it that interesting or important. For me it was an mystery that was light hearted and not to complex but always easy to read.
Year first published: 2011
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo
© CPTDANIELS August 2013