Agatha Raisin: There Goes The Bride by M C Beaton

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Agatha Raisin: There Goes The Bride by M C Beaton

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Category: Crime
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Melony Sanders
Reviewed by Melony Sanders
Summary: A light-hearted work of crime fiction, featuring super sleuth Agatha Raisin. The writing is sometimes sloppy, but fans of the series will enjoy the latest book.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 246 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Constable
ISBN: 978-1845299538

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Private investigator Agatha Raisin is not a happy woman. She is concerned with the rate at which her body is ageing; even worse, her ex-husband, James, is getting married to a much younger woman and Agatha has been invited to the wedding. She goes, with plenty of friends in tow and looks forward to the whole thing being over as soon as possible. She sees James just before the wedding, when he makes it clear that he has changed his mind and wants to pull out of the wedding. Then the bride is killed, by a bullet through the window, and James and Agatha are the primary suspects. Can they prove their innocence while finding out who the real perpetrator is?

For anyone who has not yet read one of the Agatha Raisin books, Agatha retired from her own public relations business to move to the country, where she set up a private investigation agency. She is not a typical heroine; she can be brusque and rude to people that she doesn't know, but she is good to her friends and will do anything she can to help them. Her relationship with James is a complicated one; they had an on/off affair for some time before getting married, but the marriage was a short-lived affair. Whereas James has seemingly moved on, Agatha clearly hasn't.

I do feel that the James/Agatha story is getting a little tired now. They have so much history behind them that I can't see them ever getting together, yet there is always the suggestion that they just might. Agatha, in the meantime, is finding plenty of male company, including long-time friend and occasional lover, Charles. Whereas I think older women (or indeed any women) should have the opportunity to go out there and meet men, I'm not sure the place for it is in a work of crime fiction like this. To be honest, I'm getting a little bored of it now and would much prefer the author focussed on the story rather than Agatha's love life.

Unfortunately, the story isn't really of a high enough standard to carry the book, which is probably why the author is adding in Agatha's sexual liaisons to spice things up. The plot is all over the place. It starts well with the wedding, but then peters out because Agatha is sacked from the job. She then pootles around with other business, and then the main story starts up again a couple of chapters later. In between, Agatha has a couple of largely meaningless trips abroad, which had no real purpose other than to pad out the book. The book isn't a long one anyway, but it would have been much better without the padding.

Then there is the sloppy writing. It really feels as if the author just poured her words out as she was thinking them and no-one really went back and proof-read them. I've felt this for the last two or three books. I suspect because the books are published at such a rate (at least one a year), the author is under pressure to get them written as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it shows and I really think some more thought needs to go into the stories so that they come across to readers better. This is a light-hearted read, but this is still no need for weak writing.

I have probably sounded very negative about the book so far. However, it is still an enjoyable read. Agatha Raisin is a funny character, she is full of doubts about herself and her looks and it is very easy to identify with her. And there is a lot of humour in the books, often caused by Agatha's jealous rages - in this book, she is annoyed that her 'protegee' is getting more media attention than she is. The book is perfect for a comfort read, because it requires very little concentration.

I would really like the author to tighten up her writing for the next book and to put a little more thought into the plots. However, I think that anyone who has enjoyed other books in the series will enjoy this one too. Newcomers would perhaps be advised to go further back in the series to get a feel for the general vibe - this is not the best place to start. This book is just about recommended, but don't expect a work of literary expertise.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you enjoy this book, then you will also like Blotto, Twinks and the Ex-King's Daughter by Simon Brett and Bloody Ham by Brian Kavanagh.

M C Beaton's Agatha Raisin Books in Chronological Order

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