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!