Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener review


Goodreads: Agatha Raisin 50s returns from a lonely holiday to find James Lacey having an affair with newcomer Mary Fortune. She sees green – jealous, Mary’s favorite color, and the Garden Open Day competition. A body planted head first brings Mary’s estranged daughter Beth and her violent boyfriend. Agatha investigates with Roy, Bill, and other pals.

I have to say, I find that Beaton’s characters are starting to run together.  It is a bit like reading a soap opera.  LOL

So here we are on the next book ~ they read so quickly and easily! This one was better than the last by far but I had the murder picked out before there even was a murder so guess it wasn’t that suspenseful. Still, it was fun and poor Agatha reminds me so much of myself that I have to shake my head sometimes in wonder.

Agatha is funny, blunt and overwrought all at the same time.  Poor James, the confirmed bachelor, seems totally inept when it comes to women.  He regrets getting himself on the “outs” with Agatha and then regrets getting himself on the “ins” with her too.  I’m afraid I would find such a man rather droll but Agatha seems to think otherwise.

Agatha, herself, can be wishy washy in that first she hates village life, then she loves it, and then she hates it again.  It gets a bit repetitive – I hope it doesn’t continue throughout the entire series.  She seems so sure of herself and strong-willed at times and then a weak, silly old woman at others.

When Mary sets her eyes on James, she has no idea what she is going to encounter with the jealous Agatha who will fight for him out of pure competitiveness.  Poor James wants neither woman but he brings it all on himself.  Then poor Mary gets “potted” and all the sordid details of her affairs comes to light with James getting caught in the crosshairs.

Well, on to the next one.  I don’t have as much time to read now as I did but I will squeeze in one now and then.  These are quick, light reads that give one a sense of accomplishment when they turn the last page.  I give it an A.

The Vicious Vet reveiw


Goodreads: Feisty Agatha Raisin, former London PR exec, retired to quiet Cotswold village. Handsome vet Paul Bladen accidentally kills himself while attending Lord Pendlebury’s horse. Agatha and attractive neighbor James Lacey investigate the curious lack of sorrow shown by his divorced wife while a killer plans another “accident”.

Well, the second in the series is done after a very long time waiting for access to it.  Had to reserve it in both book and ebook format in hopes of getting it sometime soon.  The book won out.  I have the third book in ebook format so will read that in the next week or so.

I liked Agatha better in this story but she is no Hamish Macbeth, that is for sure.  I guess I can kind of relate to her because she is my age and I do like that part.  Rather tired of all these young detectives in the books nowadays.

The story moved along quickly enough – it took me about 3 1/2 hours to read.  I’m not sure why she doesn’t appeal to me as much as Hamish but assume I haven’t gotten into the series far enough yet to like it unreservedly.

How can Agatha be “thin” and “stout”?

Paul Bladen sounded like a horrible man with no real love for animals which is strange for someone who is a vet.  He was so greasy that I lose a trifle bit of respect for Agatha that she could be schmoozed by the likes of him.  She is just a middle-aged woman who fills her head with sexual fantasies over every good looking man she meets.  Kind of makes me take her less seriously.

Yes, I suppose that is the old fashioned woman coming out of me – but I didn’t like Hamish’s affairs either.  Cheapens the characters to me in some weird way.

Still, I give the book a B+.

The Screwtape letters review


Goodreads: The story takes the form of a series of letters from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his nephew, a junior “tempter” named Wormwood, so as to advise him on methods of securing the damnation of a British man, known only as “the Patient”.

Screwtape holds an administrative post in the bureaucracy (“Lowerarchy”) of Hell, and acts as a mentor to Wormwood, the inexperienced tempter. In the body of the thirty-one letters which make up the book, Screwtape gives Wormwood detailed advice on various methods of undermining faith and promoting sin in the Patient, interspersed with observations on human nature and Christian doctrine. Wormwood and Screwtape live in a peculiarly morally reversed world, where individual benefit and greed are seen as the greatest good, and neither demon is capable of comprehending or acknowledging true human virtue when he sees it.

This book bothered me to no end in my teens.  I could not stand the idea of demons discussing me and my faith in this way.  It brought home to me that demons are as real as angels.  I could stand the idea of angels watching over me but not of demons undermining me and being gleeful when I stumbled.

My sister and I were discussing it the other day so I started re-reading it.  I find it bothers me just as much but not because I think of demons watching me but because the “morally reversed world” that is described in the book is a lot like the world today and I find that sad.

I recommended it to her husband because she said it is over her head.  I am sure he has read it already but she got it from the library just in case he hadn’t.

Read it and see if it bothers you.  :-)

Quiche of Death review

139176Goodreads: Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry–but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…

Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe

Have to say, the way I feel about this story mirrors how I felt about the first Hamish Macbeth – it was alright but I wasn’t overly impressed.  However, I decided to give him a second chance which set the hook so deep that I didn’t stop until I had read every one.  Unfortunately for you, I am going to give this series another chance as well so be prepared to possibly have a lot of Agatha Raisin reviews over the next few months.

The story is decent enough but Agatha makes so many mistakes that one wonders how she could finally pull it off.  Her neighbors think she is a bit odd and I would have to say she is.  However, she is charming enough that I found myself liking her.

So yes, on to the next story – though I imagine it will have to wait till Sunday as I expect work to be busy tomorrow.  Decent story, I give it a B.  :-)

Throne to the Dogs review

Goodreads: “Never underestimate the power of a boy and his dog.” After moving into a rural Iowa City neighborhood called the Sand Road circa 1967-68, Jake, a fatherless young boy of 12, discovers a world seemingly turned against him and his destitute family. Finding himself alienated from his surroundings both inside and outside of the old grey house that becomes the family’s home, Jake’s future seems hopeless, miserable and bleak… until he meets Sam. Sam is a dog that has been given to Jake’s family on a temporary basis that slowly becomes permanent, much to Jake’s chagrin. Neither boy or dog can quite accept the other until a chance revelation leads both into a relationship that defies the odds set against them. As their friendship grows, Sam’s independence and Jake’s reliance on him helps the boy overcome the obstacles in finding new friends and attending a different school while standing up to the bullies both off and on the school bus. What starts out being an unhappy situation becomes the story of the main character learning about positive relationships with his family and new found friends through various trials and adventures. As Jake struggles with young manhood in situations that are sometimes humorous, often times dangerous, he learns humility, honesty, faith, trust and love. As the unlikely alliance with Sam becomes paramount, putting the boy on a path of self- discovery, there is a realization that living on the Sand Road is not the end but merely the starting point to the rest of Jake’s life..

This is the story of a poor boy who grew up in the sixties and seventies when life in America was changing virtually every day. Midst the assassinations of MLK and Robert Kennedy, this boy learns about life and the hierarchy of the poverty ridden lower-class living on a lonesome dirt road known, most unaffectionately at times, as Sand Road. Full of humor as Jake goes on crazy adventures that any child might think up during the monotonous dog-days of summer.

Well written ~ this reader could almost see herself throughout its pages.

Death of a Liar review


Goodreads: Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.

This is why it is policy in most police departments in America that you have to check out a call no matter what because you just never know when it could be the real deal.  Hamish waits until the next day to respond to the call and finds the poor woman murdered in her garden.

But who would kill her? What did the intruder want and did he get it? Several other murders, seemingly not linked to this one, crop up making one wonder just what the heck is going on.  Which is the same thing Hamish is wondering.

Will these murders end up in the cold case files? They seem rather unsolvable even with the help of both Elspeth and Priscilla.  Dick isn’t much help though he does come in handy here and there, especially when it is dinner time.

Poor Hamish is beginning to think any woman would do for a wife – even ones he just meets, he is that horny.  But oh what a tangle web he weaves.  Women are not his specialty.

Well written and entertaining – I give this last book in the series an A+.  This is the 30th book in the series – Beaton is supposed to have another out in 2016, or so I’ve read.  Now I can take a break knowing I am caught up – those kinds of things bother me.  Hate not finishing a series if I enjoy it.  Of course, these books aren’t long and airy in the descriptions of the décor which makes them way more enjoyable to me.  Pop the Champaign cork, I am DONE!

Death of Yesterday review


Goodreads: Scottish Highland Sergeant Hamish Macbeth disbelieves summer student Morag – she lost memories of her pub night and sketchbook – until she turns up dead. As does witness, layabout Fergus. In Cnothan, “sour locals” take “pride in keeping themselves to themselves”, to keep their jobs at the Gilchrist dress factory. In past amorous attentions and police politics lie answers.

Ah Hamish, you can be so daft sometimes but I enjoy you anyway.  Pretty much, it seems, most murders have to do with money – that is why they always say “follow the money” in crime dramas.  Yes, sex and jealousy pay a part sometimes too but most always it is about greed of some kind or another.

Who could poor Morag have drawn that wanted her dead? Who was the face in the window? Who is Morag?

Hamish has his hands full as he takes on the various murders – there are far more than listed in the description of the book above.  Someone is going on a murder spree but to what end?

And what about Hamish’s love life? Will we ever see him find someone for real? Obviously Dick makes a good house husband, but he isn’t that great of a policeman though he is credited with saving Hamish’s life several times.  But how long can it last? And just what mischief is Blair up to? That man should have been fired ten books ago.  :-)

Well, I am not going to give you the answers so you best pick up a copy of the book for yourself.  I give it an A.