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A friend of mine recommended this series a while ago. but I only got round to discovering the series recently, and that was partly because I got the book free with a Galaxy chocolate promotion.
Agatha Raisin is a 50 something 'top' detective with her own agency. At the start of the book, she is considering giving everything to pursue her love interest George Marston, a gardener in her village. She had felt that by being distracted by work, others in the village had the upper hand in winning the sexy gardener's heart. She even arranges a ball for the village in an attempt to get closer to him, and when he promises a dance, it seems that things are finally going Agatha's way. When he fails to turn up at the dance, she goes in search of him. When she finds a body in his garden, her worst fears are confirmed, it is George's body, who had been killed in a horrific way. The killer obviously knowing that George had a fear of snakes, had arranged for poisonous snakes to work their magic on his body while he was unconscious. Reeling with shock, Agatha vows to catch who committed such a horrific crime, even her research uncovers some things about George she wishes she hadn't found out.
I felt the main character was a somewhat pathetic woman and there were no other characters in this book either that I felt I really wanted to get to know or care about. When the killer was revealed, I expected more of a story as to why they used the extreme methods they did , but none of this was revealed and I finished the book wondering if I had missed something important. I had always hoped that by the age of 50 something, most of your neuroses had disappeared, but Agatha seemed to be an older Bridget Jones, with none of the worldly sense or warmth of Bridget.
It was an okay read, but it hasn't persuaded me to seek out any more books in the series. It did help pass the time while I was waiting for over an hour on a hospital appointment, so I feel it deserves a star at least for that. I did, however, find the book hard to follow in places and I found that the speed in which characters were brought in and then killed off meant that I didn't get to know any character, and there was no point in retaining information about a character, as they could be killed off on the next page.
Being a bit M.C Beaton fan, especially the Agatha Raisin series, I have all the books in the series, from Quiche of Death to Hiss and Hers, I have even pre-ordered the one which is due out of the 6th Dec, I enjoy reading them. I normally buy all the books in paperback but I couldnt wait for the book to come by post so I downloaded it to my kindle application on my Windows Phone. I started reading it straight away, and it took me about a week to read in total.
The front cover of the book is a white cover, with pink writing and it has a snake writhing around a spade which is covered in blood, in the middle of the cover. The writing is like little snakes as it is curly and the HISS AND HERS is like little snakes joined together. There is also illustrations of vine leaves which also look like snakes surrounding the writing and the spade.
This book is the latest in the series, which shows Agatha chasing after the local gardener and handyman George Marston which we were introduced to at the end of her last novel "as the pig turns". We learn throughout the book that he is romancing about half of their village of Carsley in the Cotswolds. Agatha is upset about this as some of the women he had been sleeping with are frumpy, fat and what Agatha would call unattractive, whereas he had not even shown his interest in Agatha in this way. Agatha hatches a cunning plan to foot the bill for a charity ball in the village where she hopes to get the first dance from the village lothario.
He doesnt show up however and this is where the fun starts, Agatha heads out looking for him and she finds him dead in his garden, buried under the compost heap, where it turns out he has been for some time. Killed by the bites of some country adders, Agatha turns to sleuthing again, asked by the sister of the deceased to find out who would do such a thing to her brother. Agatha turns to her detective agency for help and they uncover a world of secrets and turmoil as usual, and Agatha and her detectives come under threat and one of her detectives even turns up in hospital.
This, like many of M.C Beatons Agatha Raisin books is a good and intriguing read, you want to keep reading to find out what happens. It took me about a week to read this book as I had to keep stopping due to work, but for me it is a great bedtime read, once you start reading this book you wont want to stop until you find out the truth and the novel is concluded. Another classic by M.C Beaton and another step on the complicated life of the lovable heroine Agatha Raisin.