|Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree by M C Beaton|
|Reviewer: Karen Grace|
|Summary: Fans of Agatha Raisin will obviously love the latest instalment of the cult comedy crime series but for me it was a chaotic whirlwind that I just couldn't get to grips with.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 240||Date: October 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
For those of you not familiar with Agatha Raisin she is essentially a short-tempered private investigator in her early 50s with an alcohol, doughnut and man obsession. Much like TV's Midsomer Murders, the small Cotswold village where Agatha lives has an astonishingly high crime rate with enough murders to sustain 28 books so far.
In this latest instalment, when an elderly spinster is found hanging dead from the witches' tree in the village of Sumpton Harcourt, Agatha is delighted to have some excitement back in her life. But, with more murders, unfriendly villagers and a coven of witches Agatha quickly starts regretting taking on the case.
On its back cover this book was described as 'the Archers on speed' and a more accurate (or witty) description would be impossible to come by. It also pretty much sums up both the good and bad for me; the good being the Archers and the bad being the speed.
I liked its charming innocence, the lack of sex or violence, and the light-hearted fun factor. I liked the quintessentially English country setting and stereotypical village characters like 'horsey' Brenda, Sir Edward wannabe country squire or Mrs Bloxby who knows everyone for miles around. As well as the comedic characters there was plenty of funny moments too like Agatha calling the police to report Laura dead after breaking into her house and finding her lying on her bed, her face deathly white.....turned out she was just doing a face mask.
But, on the flip side the storytelling was so fast-paced that I found it really difficult to keep up with what was going on and who all the different characters were. All the what-seemed-like-hundreds of different characters were fleetingly and inadequately described, even the main ones such as Agatha and Charles. So whilst you don't need to have read any of the previous books, because of the rapid speed and lack of depth it felt like this was the latest episode in a long-running series and by coming in late I'd missed all the introductions and so was always slightly in the dark struggling to keep up. It also feels like the author is trying to do too much; crime, comedy and romance all in one and not necessarily achieving any of them.
That said fans of Agatha Raisin will undoubtedly love this. But, otherwise I think it very much depends on what you're in the mood for as it's kind of like the difference between a takeaway or three-course meal, running versus walking, or shower and bath. For me a good book is about curling up on the sofa for hours on end immersing myself fully in another world, and so overall this just wasn't for me unfortunately.
You can read more book reviews or buy Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree by M C Beaton at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Agatha Raisin and the Witches' Tree by M C Beaton at Amazon.com.
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