Kissing Christmas Goodbye (Agatha Raisin Mysteries)
by M.C. Beaton
Review by Lynne LeGrow
St. Martin's Minotaur Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312349110
Date: 02 October 2007 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Why is it that most of us, if we are truly honest with ourselves, are just a little bit disappointed with Christmas? That is because we want it all to be perfect, in the way of the traditional Christmas as depicted by cards, movies, and novels. In Kissing Christmas Goodbye Agatha Raisin strives for that perfect holiday but, as usual, the reality falls short of the ideal. Anyone familiar with Agatha would know that going in... her plans seldom work out as she imagines. Her mishaps and disappointments are what have kept us reading through this, the 18th novel in the series.
Agatha's investigation business is doing well, but she is now bored by the usual missing pet and adultery cases. She welcomes the intrigue when a wealthy widow hires Agatha because she's convinced a member of her family is trying to kill her. Before the investigation has begun, the widow dies, and Agatha wonders who could have hated the old lady enough to poison her?
In order that she might devote more time to this intriguing case, Agatha hires a new, young trainee. A girl who seems born to the job, with a lucky streak, youth, and stamina on her side. Agatha becomes the girl's benefactress and mentor, but the girl makes vain Agatha feel old and unfit. Agatha's usual assortment of friends are all present. Roy Silver, who once worked with Agatha when she was a PR consultant, Bill Wong, her young policeman friend, Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar's wife, Sir Charles Fraith, and the detective agency's assortment of odd and unusual staff. As is usual in this series, Agatha solves the case almost by accident. Her predictable unpredictability is yet another of her endearing traits.
True to the genre, Kissing Christmas Goodbye combines all the elements one would expect: The English manor house, the death of the person in the family who controls the purse strings, and a picturesque Cotswold setting. Once again, Agatha Raisin in all her middle-aged glory does not disappoint. The unusual, almost terse writing style of the Agatha Raisin series might not appeal to some. However, in my opinion the style helps to create the character that is Agatha Raisin. Kissing Christmas Goodbye is in keeping with the previous novels in this light and cozy series in that it will make you giggle at the same time it makes you look forward to Agatha's next exploit.