This year for the first time ever I decided to get myself involved in some seasonal reading. Christmas tends to be the period when I read lots and lots of guilty pleasures and one or two big books I have been meaning to read for a while. So I thought if I could combine a guilty pleasure (though actually there is no guilt involved) with a seasonal read that would get me just in the mood for what’s coming tomorrow and this book has helped get me even further into the Christmas spirit even though it actually starts off in October. (Currently this Christmas Eve I am reading the seasonal ‘Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie, thoughts on Boxing Day.)
M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye is a wonderful title for a book though a teeny tiny bit misleading as really Christmas happens right at the end. However when it does show up it sets you in the Christmas mood as Agatha tried to organise the whole village to have dinner in her cottage, it involves a lot of expense builders and hired chef’s and is very funny. However by this point a murder or two have already been solved so no actual festive murder, if there is such a thing, has taken place which is what I was expecting. I still enjoyed it immensely.
Now I did a rare thing reading this book and skipped about eight of the series in order to read something festive and so quite a lot had changed but it did prove you can throw yourself into any Agatha to hand and they are stand alone reads. Anything like her complex love life is explained in a few sentences or in the case of this book with an introduction of the story so far. I didn’t realise she had a Detective Agency now though and at first the idea of it really put me off, in the end though it worked and was quite important to the plot.
Agatha receives a letter from a Mrs Tamworthy who states “I think a member of my family is trying to kill me. Isn’t the weather warm for October?” Initially thinking she is crackers and having far too much work to do she ignores the note. However after dubiously hiring a new detective in the form of seventeen year old Toni Gilmour time is freed up and indeed a murder does take place. Agatha soon hits dead ends whereas Toni seems to have amazing luck solving cases so she drags her into it all with her leading to some interesting an not seen before adventures for Agatha some quite, quite dark.
Toni is a great character with a very interesting and topically current back story and who also brings out some very different sides of Agatha’s personality both good and bad. Hopefully, once I catch up, I will read more of her in the future. I was briefly wondering if a spin off series might be planned but I can’t see it happening just yet. I thoroughly enjoyed this despite my worry the detective agency might be too much. It does mean we get less of the wonderful characters from the village, but we also get to meet a whole host of new ones in two other settings. Another delightful Agatha read and just about right for Christmas time.
I always wonder why people keep moving into these fictional murderous villages, I mean with such high death tolls I don’t think I would move in, would you? Actually in this case I might, I would love to go off sleuthing with Agatha Raisin especially as I have the daunting task of Christmas dinner for six tomorrow, that seems much more of a difficult prospect and not half as much fun, though hopefully the resulting meal will be!! Merry Christmas!