After my review of one of M.C.Beaton’s books, in which I basically trashed the story, the editing, and the characterisation, I read other reviews of the book on Amazon and discovered that Dead Ringer was atypical. So, being the generous soul that I am, I decided to try again.
The book I selected, almost at random, was Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden, which I borrowed as an ebook from the local library.
First impressions were much more favourable than for Dead Ringer. Agatha came over as somewhat neurotic, but much more credibly – I could almost empathise with her in places, which I found myself unable to do with the other book.
There was a real plot, which there never really seemed to be in Dead Ringer (which lurched from scene to scene with little connection other than the characters being the same), and the supporting cast were believable as well, with much more depth and layering than the cardboard cutouts of Dead Ringer.
The dialogue flowed much more smoothly, and the motivations for characters’ actions made much more sense. I actually wanted to know who had done it, and I guessed wrong (I wasn’t totally convinced by the denouement, though). The final chapter could have been cut from the point of view of a detective story, but it rounded out the characterisation nicely.
Overall, I wouldn’t say this book converted me to being an Agatha Raisin fan, but at least I could see why some people do like these books. It may be that Hamish Macbeth will appeal to me more than Agatha.