Tuesday, September 1, 2015


“It’s only October,” said the vicar’s wife plaintively, “No one should be allowed to mention Christmas before the first of December.”


OK. So I broke the rules.

After a couple of hard reads, I was looking for something light. And lo-and-behold! Kindle offered a special on M.C. Beaton’s Kissing Christmas Goodbye.

Agatha Raisin receives a letter from a woman who expects to be murdered during the Christmas season. Christmas is about the only time her children come to visit her.

Her children hate her. She has bullied them and held them hostage using her wealth to keep them on the string. And now she plans to give her land and wealth away to build a technical school named for her late husband. She is about to change her will.

When Agatha and her new assistant Toni Gilmour go to the old woman’s mansion, they find a hateful old lady. Her murder (using Hemlock) seems appropriate though a daughter-in-law hires Agatha to find the murderer.

The people in the town hate the old lady. She owns everything, charges low rents, but bullies them too. They know that if she gives the land and village away, they will lose their homes, their very roles in life.

Many people have motives.

One thing is different about this Agatha Raisin. We see a side of Agatha we don’t often see. She takes the abused 17-year-old Toni under her wing.

Of course Agatha uses Toni’s talents as an intuitive detective. Toni solves an earlier murder.

Kissing Christmas Goodbye ends in a riotous, unbelievable Christmas party where Agatha learns she no longer cares for her ex-husband James Lacey. Agatha gives up on her illusions about having the perfect Christmas.

The story is unbelievable, but after all, that's what you expect from an Agatha Raisin. 

Kissing Christmas Goodbye has the expected characters. (I especially like Mrs. Bloxby.) It has the usual ditzy but determined Agatha. And it has occasional laugh-out-loud humor.

Christmas doesn’t usually come in September, but this time, for me at least, M.C. Beaton’s Kissing Christmas Goodbye filled the bill.


Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Joe, every third book I read is a light read. It livens up the reading. I might gift myself this nice little mystery for Christmas.

Joe Barone said...

Prashant, Agatha Raisin is usually fun. I liked this one better than some of the others.

George said...

M. C. Beaton was one of Jack Vance's favorite writers. I've found her work consistently good.

Joe Barone said...

George, I think she is funny.