Friday, 9 January 2015

The Vicious Vet / The Murderous Marriage - Agatha Raisin mysteries, by M.C.Beaton

I came upon Agatha Raisin a while ago, when I needed some comfort reading.  So, when I was half-way through a difficult book for my bookclub (To rise again at a Decent Hour, comments to follow) I found myself at that same phase -- I was so perplexed that I needed some distraction.  Hence, not one but two comfort books, which I read in two days...

The plot of both books is, of course, a murder:  how else would Agatha Raisin keep busy when she's not trying to find love in the Cotswolds?  

In the Vicious VetAgatha finds herself with two kitties when a new vet arrives in town.  Pity that when she tries to charm him, she realises that half the village (women) the same idea has...
When the vet, Paul Bladen, is found dead, Agatha will need to pull all strings to find the murderer - together with James Lacey, her neighbour and love interest supreme who proves to be a challenge:

(Agatha) did not like people who suddenly quoted things at you, leaving you feeling unread and inadequate.  In fact, she thought they only did it to show off

The book is incredibly fast-paced, with hilarious moments keeping the interest high.  The "dark" moments are not overpowering and the end result is a pleasant read, ideal for a pick-me-up request.

The Murderous Marriage, on the other hand, is not, in my humble opinion, one of Agatha's better moments.  Already from the outset, the fact that on James' and Agatha's wedding date, we learn of the existence of her non-divorced, non-annuled, perfectly alive and well husband - who basically wrecks the whole ceremony - is a bit far-fetched.  Living in the same country, deserting the husband, and expecting to commit bigamy just like that... meh.  

And then he's dead. And then there's plenty of other people ending up dead.  Which is way too many, if I may say so myself.  For each one of these, Agatha and James  are primary suspects.  Again, too much of a good thing is not always better.  I kept rolling my eyes as to each new incident, where the police would call on the couple - because, of course they continue to live together.

And this is another issue I have trouble with.  Agatha and James have just had their marriage cancelled.  The emotions should be sky-high, and yet they react so rationally that I get upset on their behalf... 

(James): "I think I will always be too sore at you, Agatha, to ever want to marry you.  But the had fact is that we have worked well together in the past and together we might clear this up"

Also, already from the middle of the story, for the first time, I have my suspicions about the murderer and I'm right.  This is the final straw -- if I can guess whodunnit that early, I lose interest...

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