Friday, October 21, 2016

A Stale Raisin

    M. C Beaton. Agatha Raisin and the Curious Curate (2003) A potboiler, written in a flat, unobtrusive style, better plotted than narrated, with cardboardy characters just colourful enough to carry the plot. Even Agatha Raisin fans will find this tale below average. The plot is about the only thing that kept me turning the pages.
The new curate, Rev. Tristan Delon, is too beautiful for words, and a narcissistic charmer who specialises in separating susceptible women from their money. He gets his comeuppance, as does his murderer, who is as nasty a piece of work as Tristan himself. Agatha’s new neighbour, a crime story writer, helps her detect, but the spark is missing, and he leaves the village at the end of the story. Enough twists to keep you guessing, perfunctory updating of various back stories and tying up of loose ends. I think the series is wearing Beaton down. Her forte is comedy and cheerful satire, but there’s not much of that on offer here. *½

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