Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House

I’ve not been around much on my blog this week, time out for looking after grandchildren in Scotland for one thing. I have still been reading, though I didn’t take Wolf Hall away with me as I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate much on reading and Wolf Hall deserves that.

I read a much less substantial book – Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House by M C Beaton. I’ve only read one of her books before, Death of a Gossip, which I thought was awful. I decided to give her books another go as I know other people enjoy the Agatha Raisin series. I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t enthralled by this book. It’s number 14 in the series, but I know a bit about the earlier books from an article in newbooks Crime Supplement, so it wasn’t difficult to follow. It’s definitely a ‘cozy’ mystery with three deaths for Agatha to resolve. An old woman reports that her house is haunted and is later found murdered. More deaths follow.

Agatha Raisin is an amateur sleuth and a very amateur one indeed. She blunders around and every now and then lands on something relevant. But this book is all rather silly and Agatha herself is a silly woman. It’s like reading an Enid Blyton book for not so very grown up adolescents, as she goes ga-ga over her new neighbour, Paul a married man, repeatedly changing her clothes and renewing her make-up to  catch his eye. Then there is the haunted house and a secret passage, reminding me of the Famous Five etc. For example she and Paul hide behind a hedge at dead of night keeping watch, stumble around in the garden trying to find the entrance to the secret passage and even worse, Agatha dressed up in a bright red wig and a long droopy tea-dress goes out at two in the morning to push a note through the police station door. I could go on … and  …. on.

So, a second book by M C Beaton hasn’t made me want to read any more.

8 thoughts on “Agatha Raisin and the Haunted House”

  1. I’m so pleased it isn’t just me. I tried one because the title was a good pun – something about a quiche – and also because they seem to be very popular. I got about 20 pages in and couldn’t take any more… I’ve never read such simplistic writing for adults, it was as though it had been written by a 12 year old. Not for me I’m afraid.

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  2. I think that Agatha Raisin is definitely an acquired taste, Margaret. I read the first few in the series, but Agatha doesn’t progress much in her maturity. So….I’ve left off of them. I will say that I listened to the ones I read and maybe that helped. The first one was humorous with the quiche contest and all, but Agatha’s incessant quest for a man got old very quickly. I have not read Hamish books. I know that many enjoy those. I do believe that the author has written under another name, Marion Chesney, I think. She did a short series set in the late 1800’s that had a daughter whose parents were desperate to marry off and I enjoyed those. There were only 4 of them though. I would cross this author off your list. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Kay, maybe listening would be an improvement. On the front cover it states this is a ‘popular Radio 4 series starring Penelope Keith’ and I do like her!

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  3. I just grabbed the audio of this exact Agatha Raisin book a couple of days ago without knowing anything about the series. I will go into it with low expectations. I thought I might like it because I have enjoyed the few Dorothy Cannell books I’ve read and thought they might be similar.

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  4. OK, I’ll speak on Agatha’s behalf. The books are meant to be light-hearted, and I can see she wouldn’t be much fun if you took her seriously as a detective. She’s bumbling and awkward and always says the wrong thing. She’s also grumpy and on the prowl for men and selfish and says all the things I’d like to say but, unlike her, I have an appropriate level of self-censorship. But in spite of all these flaws, she has friends who love her, and she does always manage to solve the mystery. I think some people like the series because it’s kind of refreshing to have a heroine who’s not meant to be lovable.

    After all that, I do have to confess that like Hamish better. 😀

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