Penelope Keith - who starred as Agatha Raisin in the popular BBC Radio 4 series - reads M. C. Beaton’s entertaining murder mystery.
Winter Parva, a traditional Cotswolds village next door to Carsely, has decided to throw a celebratory hog roast to mark the beginning of the winter holiday festivities and Agatha Raisin has arrived with friend and rival in the sleuthing business, Toni, to enjoy the merriment. But as the spit pig is carried towards the bed of fiery charcoal Agatha - and the rest of the village - realise that things aren’t as they seem....
Very quickly it transpires that the spit pig is in fact Gary Beech, a policeman not much loved in Winter Parva. And although Agatha has every intention of leaving the affair to the police, she rapidly changes her mind when she finds out Gary’s ex-wife has hired Toni to investigate. Cantankerous and competitive as Agatha is, she has now to join the fray and try and solve the case herself!
Agatha Raisin is the Cotswolds answer to the Ladies No.1 Detectives Agency. Story zips along in 3rd gear, fuelled with very non-21st Century caffeine, nicotine and regular pitstops for an alcohol top-up. Like the Oxfordshire countryside, the plot wends it's way, up, down and around; delivering very picturesque murder. This is genuinely gentile sleuthing!
Not as good as previous stories
I have to admit to being a late comer to the Agatha Raisin series and having finished the previous 20 odd books in record time earlier this year I was desperate to get my hands on the new title... But I was extremely disappointed. It just doesn't match up to the earlier titles in the series at all and I have to say I thought the murder a little too gruesome for the usual cozy tales that Agatha features in.
It was still worth a read but just not cutting it next to it's far superior earlier series.