The Witches’ Tree (Agatha Raisin #28) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: October 3, 2017

Format: E-Book/OverDrive

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead—and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered—and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds—a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation—and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn’t make her feel any better…

Review –

Another quirky murder mystery involving  the aging, unmarried, chubby, woman with small bear like eyes, Agatha Raisin. I have felt sorry for Agatha in past books but this one takes the cake. In between looking for clues to solve numerous murders she always has her eye out for a new man and a new romance.  Sir Charles Fraith, her old friend, comes in and out of her life and  uses her for sex when he fancies and Agatha, looking for a man’s comfort allows herself to be used. 

The murders seems to be secondary to Agatha’s plight for a new man and that’s sad. She does solve the crimes, with help and still ends up unhappy at the end.

The author needs to do something in the next book to turn Agatha around and into the confident woman she once was or I’m afraid her following is going to drastically dwindle.

I’m a huge fan so I will continue to read the next when it comes out but fingers crossed that the author sees the light!

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The Death of a Ghost (Hamish MacBeth #32) by M.C. beaton

Book Description:

Published: February 21, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth–Scotland’s most quick-witted but unambitious policeman–returns in M.C. Beaton’s new mystery in her New York Times bestselling seriesDEATH OF A GHOSTWhen Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth hears reports of a haunted castle near Drim, he assumes the eerie noises and lights reported by the villagers are just local teenagers going there to smoke pot or, worse, inject themselves with drugs. Still, Hamish decides that he and his policeman, Charlie “Clumsy” Carson, will spend the night at the ruined castle to get to the bottom of the rumors once and for all.There’s no sign of any ghost…but then Charlie disappears through the floor. It turns out he’s fallen into the cellar. And what Hamish and Charlie find there is worse than a ghost: a dead body propped against the wall. Waiting for help to arrive, Hamish and Charlie leave the castle just for a moment–to eat bacon baps–but when they return, the body is nowhere to be seen. It’s clear something strange–and deadly–is going on at the castle, and Hamish must get to the bottom of it before the “ghost” can strike again…

Review –

I’m afraid this will be the last book in the Hamish MacBeth series that I read or listen to because it was boring and just a rehash on the same plot and conclusion, only with different crimes and characters.

It’s sad that the author can’t find something new to occupy Hamish in the Scottish countryside. Maybe she should have him go TDY to America and see what mischief he could cause.

 

Death of a Liar (Hamish MacBeth #30) by M.C Beaton

Book Description:

Published: February 3, 2015

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

Review –

For anyone who hasn’t read or listened to at least one of the Hamish MacBeth series, here is a bit about the likable character.

He lives in Lochdubh’s police station and keeps some sheep and chickens and grows some vegetables. He is occasionally guilty of poaching a salmon, sometimes for himself, but often as a gift or bribe for others.

Hamish has a reputation for laziness. He loves the town of Lochdubh (meaning ‘black lake’ (loch) in Gaelic and pronounced Lokh-DOO) and is content and at peace with his life and lacks ambition. Of great concern to Hamish and his fellow villagers is the threat of possible closure of Lochdubh’s police station,something his superior and archenemy, Chief Inspector Blair, would like to see. Hamish avoids promotion, occasionally even deliberately destroying attempts to give him recognition for his accomplishments. His position as “local bobby,” sees him sometimes left out of official investigations and he must often work outside official channels, as the detectives from neighbouring Strathbane CID do not appreciate his help. Despite this, it is Hamish’s natural “Highland curiosity” and local knowledge and intuition that combine to solve crimes.

All that being said, this book did not hold my interest and I found myself wishing the book would hurry up and be over. There was nothing different from this book to differentiate it from all the others.I like all the characters but I hope the author can come up with more timely and “edge of the seat” plots.

 

Death of a Macho Man (Hamish MacBeth #12) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: 2009

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Randy Duggan is the macho man of the title of this work of fiction. He claims to be a professional wrestler and he becomes known in the small village of Lochdubh for his tall stories. When Randy is found murdered, Constable Hamish Macbeth hopes that the killer is not one of the villagers. However, there is enough local resentment against Randy, that someone in quiet, peaceful Lochdubh may have been driven to slaying this macho man.

 

Review –

This is the twelfth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth, the constable for the sleepy village of Lochdubh in northern Scotland. In this book, village life takes center stage and the village characters beguile the reader, giving the book that cozy feel. Moreover, readers will enjoy the dynamics between Hamish and is ex-fiancée, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, as they try to achieve a détente and resolve their relationship. The book is laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, keeping the mood of the book light and highly enjoyable.

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Death of a Charming Man(Hamish MacBeth #10) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: July 1, 1995

Hamish Macbeth’s unofficial engagement to the stunning Priscilla Halburton-Smythe is reminding the constable of the old adage about answered prayers. His lovely fiancée has replaced his cozy wood stove with a modern electric one and is busy trying to “make a man of him.” The only man Hamish wants to be is the one who slouches about the village, gossiping, fishing, and deftly solving a crime or two.

Deciding that this may be a good time for a little retreat, Hamish ambles over to the nearby backwater of Drim – ostensibly to check out a posh English chap who’s causing a most unusual problem. Single, wealthy, and terribly attractive, newcomer Peter Hynd has thrown the middle-aged matrons of Drim into a flutter, and put their men, dour Highlanders whose feelings run deep, on a slow burn.

Hamish’s instincts tell him this seemingly charming young man likes to stir up trouble, and it’s not long before the seething emotions transform the sleepy village into a hotbed of threats, domestic rows, and violent murder. With Hamish’s own relationship raising doubts about hearts and flowers, he’s more than ready to do what he now must – investigate the darker side of love . . .

Review –

M. C. Beaton is a master at the cozy mystery and even in the 10th novel, we are still interested in the life and crimes of the northern Highlands. As always, the townsfolk and Hamish’s seemingly lazy personality are at the core of the book. The mystery was well constructed and not easy to figure out, but it’s the quirky characters who keep me coming back to Lochdubh.

Easy, relaxing read.

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Dishing The Dirt (Agatha Raisin Mysteries #26) by M.C. Beaton

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2015

A therapist had moved into the village of Carsely and Agatha Raisin hates her. Not only was this therapist, Jill Davent, romancing Agatha’s ex-husband, but she had dug up details of Agatha’s slum background.

Added to that, Jill was counselling a woman called Gwen Simple from Winter Parva and Agatha firmly believed Gwen to have assisted her son in some grisly murders, although has no proof she had done so.

A resentment is different from a dislike and needs to be shared, so as the friendship between James and Jill grows stronger, the more Agatha does to try to find out all she can about her. When Jill is found strangled to death in her office two days’ later, Agatha finds herself under suspicion – and must fight to clear her name.

Review –

I usually love an Agatha Raisin Mystery  but this one was disappointing.

The writing seemed rushed, there were too many deaths, SEVEN(even for a murder mystery) and while the killer did have a motive it just seemed a bit too easy. I do realize that the end leaves it wide open to be continued in the next installment, which I’m guessing will come out next year.

I did like that Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar’s wife, gets her own plot development and it’s about time. Her husband takes her for granted and is a rude man.

Agatha is still looking for Mr. Right and I do wish the author would find one for her. It would serve James, her ex-husband, and Charles, and old friend and sometimes bed mate, right.

While I did enjoy the book it just didn’t live up to the standard of the others, but I will be sure to read the next one because that’s what avid readers do-READ.

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Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin Mysteries #1) by M C Beaton

Book Description

January 20, 2003

Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry—but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…

Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe…

Review –
This is the book that started the Agatha Raisin Mystery Series and it was wonderful.  I’ve read all of the other books in the series and have always been a big fan of the series but this book tells us how Agatha came to be in Carsely in the Cotwolds and how James Lacey came to be her next door neighbor.(In later books James and Agatha marry for a short time)
The characters are eccentric, fun, somethings irritating but always entertaining. If you are in a bad mood, starting an Agatha Raisin Mystery will change that.
Truly a great series. Give it a try.
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Christmas Crumble(Agatha Raisin Series) by M.C. Beaton

15795185Book Description:

Pulbication Date : August 28, 2012

Christmas tale that’s holly, jolly—and deadly, by golly…

At home alone for the holidays, Agatha Raisin decides to host a dinner party for the elder residents in her Cotswold village of Winter Parva. Agatha’s never been much of a homemaker, but she’s dead-set on making this the perfect holiday for the “crumblies,” as she affectionately calls them. She’s decorated a tree while fending off her cats Hodge and Boswell, and even made a (lumpy) Christmas pudding in between swigs of rum. But when Agatha dumps the pudding on the head of the local self-proclaimed lothario—an eighty-five year old with a beer belly and fingers like sausages—his death by dessert proves more than a trifle as mysteries mount higher than the season’s snowfall. So much for trying to do good by her neighbors. Now Agatha needs no less than a Christmas miracle to get herself out of this one…

 

Review –

Nothing like an Agatha Raisin Mystery to put a smile on my face but I always end up feeling so bad for poor Agatha because she is alone and lonely whether she would admit to it or not.  I wish the author would write a book where in Agatha has a happy outcome.  Until that day comes I will continue to read this series.  Puts a smile on my face every time.

 

Minerva (The First Volume of Six Sisters) by M.C. Beaton ( Marion Chesney)

Product Decription:

The first in M.C. Beaton’s great fun Regency Romance series: The Six Sisters.

Raven-haired Minerva, eldest daughter of an impecunious vicar, When the Reverend Charles Armitage, an impecunious country vicar in Regency England, announces that raven-haired Minerva, the eldest of his six daughters, is to have her coming-out in London, the news is not well received by the rest of the family. Mrs. Armitage has one of her Spasms and has to be brought round by burning a quantity of feathers under her nose. Annabelle, the nearest in age to Minerva, is clearly jealous, the boys are all surly, and the other girls just start off crying.

Minerva is despatched to Town under the wing of the disreputable old Lady Godolphin. Her task – to find a rich husband and thereby restore the ailing family fortunes.

But the other five daughters will all get their chance, because Minerva is but the first volume in The Six Sisters series by Marion Chesney.

Review –

I’ve always enjoyed the Agatha Raisin Series by M.C. Beaton and when I learned of another series  I just had to try it and what a pleasant story and  fast read.  I’m now very excited to read the stories of the other sisters in the series.

*To the author:   Please write faster!

As The Pig Turns by M.C. Beaton

Book Description

Series: Agatha Raisin Mysteries | Publication Date: October 11, 2011

Winter Parva is a “picturesque” (touristy) Cotswold village with gift shops, a medieval market hall, and thatched cottages. After a disappointing Christmas season, the parish council has decided to hold a special event in January, complete with old-fashioned costumes, morris dancing, and a pig roast on the village green. 

 

Always one for a good roasting, Agatha Raisin organizes an outing to enjoy the merriment. The rotary spit turning over a bed of blazing charcoals is sure to please on this foggy and blistery evening. But as the fog lifts slightly, the sharp-eyed Agatha notices something peculiar about the pig: a tattoo of a heart with an arrow through it and the name Amy.

 

“Stop!” she screams suddenly. “Pigs don’t have tattoos.”

 

The “pig,” in fact, is Gary Beech, a policeman not exactly beloved by the locals, including Agatha herself. Although Agatha has every intention of leaving matters to the police, everything changes when the Gary’s ex-wife, Amy, hires Agatha’s detective agency to investigate—and another murder ensues. With that provocation, how could any sleuth as vain and competitive (and secretly insecure) as Agatha do anything other than solve the case herself?

Review –

I love the Agatha Raisin  series so much that this time I thought I’d treat myself to an audio version.  MISTAKE!  I don’t know for sure what caused me to NOT LIKE the audio version but I think it was the narrator, whose accent was strong and I just couldn’t picture the voice being that of Agatha.  So, I learned a valuable lesson and will never again listen to a book with characters that I have a long and happy relationship with.  Great story, though, as always.