Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M.C. Beaton

I borrowed this book from the library and it’s the first Agatha Raisin book I’ve read, I’ve wanted to start at the beginning of the series since Jo at The Book Jotter has been enjoying reading the books. Unfortunately this one is fifth in the series but I decided to read it anyway. These books are set in the Cotswolds, and as there are quite a few mentions of towns which we visited during our recent road trip, it did add to the reading experience, it’s nice to be able to picture the actual locations.

I enjoyed this one, I think you could call it a good book for a bad day. There’s nothing at all intellectualy stimulating about it which makes it perfect for taking your mind off things or reading on a journey or hanging about in a queue, good holiday reading too. It only took a couple of hours to get through.

Agatha Raisin is getting married to James Lacey, her next door neighbour, and she is keeping her fingers crossed that her previous husband is dead, otherwise she’ll be committing bigamy. As you can imagine – things don’t go well and murder and mayhem ensue. It’s a bit daft really, what I call ‘marshmallow reading’ but sometimes that’s just what you need.

I had heard a bit of the first book in this series on BBC Radio 4 Extra one night when I was doing the dishes. From what I heard then, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death seemed to have had more humour in it. I think that the books might turn out to be a bit samey but I’ll definitely read a few more of them, I can’t see myself ploughing therough all M.C. Beaton’s output though, they’re churned out at quite a rate.

One thing did strike me as funny, which wasn’t supposed to be amusing. M.C. Beaton was a wee bit economical with the commas early on in the book, page 7 to be exact, where this is written:

Such men as James Lacey were for other women, county women with solid county backgrounds, women in tweeds with dogs who could turn out cakes and jam for church fetes with one hand tied behind their backs.

I had to read it again as it didn’t make sense – who’s doing the baking – the women or the dogs? Surely if dogs they should have a paw tied behind their back!

Then I realised it was just the lack of a comma or two which caused the confusion. Sad really because I did have a vision of a dog doing the baking and jam making, and do admit, it would have been funnier!

Anyway I want a dog like that, especially for baking the things that I’d still be marked F for Fail on, like scones and bread, but I’m thinking it would have to be a poodle because they don’t cast hairs!

16 thoughts on “Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M.C. Beaton

  1. I’ve started reading these, too, based on Savidge Reads’ love of them. I’ve only read three of the first four books, but I like them for the same reasons you do. I’m not dying to read the next one, but when I want something light and familiar, I’ll probably pick up another one.

    I’m delighted that you were annoyed by the lack of commas, one of my pet peeves, as you know.

    • Joan,
      I suppose if you skim read then you won’t notice things like that but I think you and I read every comma. I like to live in a book, which is why I like books which have quite a lot of descriptions, so I can imagine it all quite vividly.

  2. Marsmallow reading, is a great way to sum them up! As is good books for bad days and I have plenty of them!

    From the ones I have read some of them are better than the others. The rate they are churned out I suppose that is to be expected.

    • Jo,
      I call things like Midsomer Murders – ‘marshmallow viewing’ too. I hope the bad days subside eventually, but meanwhile, books like these can feel like life-savers!

  3. I was in absolute stitches laughing while I read this post of yours. (And it was a day when I sorely needed a good guffaw or two!)

    I couldn’t agree more that having the dogs doing the baking would have been a huge improvement over the author’s intention.

    Judith

    • Judith,
      I’m glad it tickled you too! I hope you’re going to be feeling more like your normal self soon. It must have been murder for you having to stay off your leg all that time. Wimbledon soon though!

    • Anbolyn,
      I’m not a beach or poolside person, I suppose that’s something to do with the fact that it’s usually freezing here, even in June, we’ve had our central heating on today! I can imagine the Agatha books would go down well in a beach situation though.

  4. Most of my reading is on planes and marshmallows are well suited.

    Had to laugh at the comma comment. Someday I’ll publish a collection of this and call it “For Want of a Comma”

    BTW – found a suitable dress for the wedding – dark navy waltz length with a light jacket. Now looking for matching shoes. Unfortunately, the most likely pair thus far is a moderate peep-toe pump, but it’s satin. I may be carrying them in a bag most of the time! I know I’ll need flats to negotiate the walk from the drop-off to the castle proper. The sacrifices we make for (fashion/comfort – pick one)!

    • Pearl,
      I’m not sure if you would like Agatha Raisin, the books might be too daft for you, but you never know!

      Your outfit sounds lovely. I suppose you mean Edinburgh castle, I didn’t realise you could get married there, but it will be a great venue. I can’t even walk on cobbles in completely flat shoes without going over on my ankles. I hope you don’t have far to walk then, one of those rickshaws would be a great way to dodge the walk!

  5. Laughed out loud at the dog doing the baking!
    “Eats shoots and leaves” There was a joke about a panda with a gun, in a pub……. I like the book of the same name though! I’d love Pearl’s book if she publishes it! Haven’t read any of the Agatha Raisin books.

    • Evee,
      I’d buy Pearl’s book too, I hope she writes it!
      When the “Eats shoots and leaves” book first came out, I had such a lot of trouble explaining it to a neighbour who had been a primary school headmistress!!! It took her over 24 hours to get the idea of it. I don’t think her pupils could have been very well taught, going by how slow she was.

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