Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M C Beaton

I met Agatha Raisin on telly. I loved the feisty, blundering woman with a head for business and a fairly decent heart. And when those two came together (head and heart) sparks flew.

I then went to the trouble of finding Agatha in a book format, and enjoyed that too.

Kissing Christmas Goodbye is a light read, which I thought would do me nicely around the festive season. I must warn that Christmas only comes towards the end of the book, and doesn’t linger. The storyline is rather clichéd (a rich old lady fearing for her life, and then, yes, being murdered). As she was a nasty piece of work, murder suspects are multiple and their motives transparent. Agatha is retrospective about her longstanding love interest, James. Her friends, Roy and Charles are there for her – sort of. And a rival arrives in the shape of young and clever Toni. A girl with a working class background, cursed with a family of drunks, Toni seems to be a younger version of Agatha herself. Agatha envies her youth and at the same time takes the girl under her wing. This must be closest Agatha has come to being a mother.

The writing is sketchy and rushed. At times it seems like the book has been written in shorthand and nobody bothered to transcribe it into standard English. But it is jolly good fun!

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