Dead On Target

Rating: 4 out of 5.
An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton with R.W. Green

Although Agatha Raisin is perpetually in her early 50’s – the Bart Simpson of cozy mysteries – her creator, M.C. Beaton, is with us no more. R.W. Green has taken over, and here’s the problem:

R.W. Green, unfortunately, knows how to write, and as a result he has humanized some of these characters, including James Lacy, Margaret Bloxby, and Agatha herself, giving them depth and compassion. This isn’t a bad thing for those new to the series, but veteran readers know that Margaret would never actually banter with Agatha or anyone else, and James would never string enough words together to make the long declaration he spoke toward the end of the book. Readers must use their own judgment to decide if they like the new, slightly more human Agatha.

M.C. Beaton, after all, was delightfully, unapologetically terrible as a writer – complete disregard for the passing of time; repetitive description of Agatha’s apperance and other phrases bearlike eyes, glossy brown hair that she often “brushed ’til it shone'” and taking shortcuts by killing people off in two sentences or glossing over six months in five words or less – those were Agatha’s creator’s MO. Also, by the way – brushing one’s hair until it shines is absolutely impossible. Brush your hair that hard and you’ve got hair that sticks to your scalp and crackles with static electricity at the same time. It’s not a good look.

Does this mean I didn’t like the book? No! It’s still a good read. It’s not the first Agatha title that this author has written, and Green is as skilled as M.C. Beaton at world building.

R. W. Green is a good writer, and we just have to learn to live with that.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of this book, which is due out in September 2023. I used the ARC to write this honest review.

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