M.C. Beaton

Something Borrowed, Someone Dead

"Beaton is marvellous at creating characters of the weird variety."


Piddlebury is a sleepy village very close to Agatha's own beloved Carsely, but it harbours a menacing serial killer. Gloria French was an incomer and had only been living in Piddlebury for a year. She had started off making friends and raising money for the church before people caught on to her irritating habit: Gloria liked to 'borrow' things. Sometimes she would borrow them and never return them, other times she would simply help herself to others belongings. So someone removed her altogether.

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I have enjoyed the Agatha Raisin series, obviously some more than others. This latest offering was thin in size as well as in plot and I felt it didn't really get off the ground. In the past, despite Agatha's bumbling, there has been some direction which was sadly lacking in Beaton's latest. The investigation itself appeared stretched even though the book comes in at under 200 pages. Beaton is marvellous at creating characters of the weird variety and many populate her latest, but it didn't seem to gel well at all. I felt we were given a number of vignettes that appeared to repeat themselves over time in one form or another. Agatha is anything but subtle, but here I felt that Beaton was labouring the point of Agatha's rudeness. There were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, but not enough to save this book. This is a book that is for serious diehard Raisin fans, but even then some may feel disappointed. Let's hope the next case is juicier and gives Agatha back her bite!

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