“Agatha Raisin has never been one for enforced holiday cheer, but her friendly little village of Carsely has always prided itself on its traditional Christmas festivities. But this year the bells will not be ringing out Silent Night as Mr John Sunday, an officer with the Cotswold Health and Safety Board, has chosen Christmas as the time to crack down what he sees as gross misconduct by every man, woman, and child in the vicinity. The village shop is told it can no longer have wooden shelves which have been there since the time of Queen Victoria ‘in case someone is inflicted with a splinter’. The village school is ordered to leave lights on at night ‘to prevent unauthorized intruders from tripping in the dark’. And children are warned to not play with ‘counterfeit banknotes’ after passing around toy money in the playground. But finally Mr Sunday goes too far when he rules that there cannot be a Christmas tree atop the church tower this year. Soon after the decree and just before Christmas, Agatha is sipping a cup of tea and trying to stay awake as minute by minute of the Carsely Ladies Society meeting at the vicarage drones on when a sudden scream wakes her from her stupor. The ladies rush out of the building and into the garden to find Sunday lying face down in the petunias, very much dead. Agatha is instantly on the case, but with so many people having threatened the life of the victim, it’s almost impossible to know where to start.”
What I thought:
I was really looking forward to listening to this on audio book in my car – a cosy mystery, Christmas tree on the front, what’s not to love?
To be honest, although I did enjoy it, it sort of left me a little “meh”. This was my first time making the acquaintance of Agatha Raisin and part of what I was looking forward to the most was the promise of festive fun on these freezing cold December mornings, but it reality the book spans a year and Christmas barely gets mentioned.
Penelope Keith (treasured UK actress, played the comdey genius Margot in The Goode Life) is the narrator and although her plummy accent is perfect for how I imagine Agatha Raisin herself, PK’s other accents left a little to be desired (and made me cringe on many an occasion).
Although this book got me through a few long car journeys and put a smile on my face on occasion, I still couldn’t warm to it enough to say that I loved it. Bah humbug!
(I received this audio book for review from Amazon Vine)