Oh, what to say? I do love this series but, honestly, some of the books are SO badly written; in fact, as the series progresses the books seem to be getting worse and worse. Why is this? Is the author arrogant enough to think that fans of Agatha Raisin will continue to buy the books as the quality of writing descends further and further into the mire? Or perhaps the author is unaware of how much her writing has changed for the worse. What about the editor(s) and publishers - why are they letting these terrible books continue to be published? I can only assume it's the cha-ching of the cash register. Unfortunately, I'm helping to perpetuate it (although saying that, I did actually pick up this book in a charity shop so no extra money in the MC Beaton coffers from me this time round.) I had a quick Google of other reviews for this book and plenty of other long-time Agatha fans seem to be in agreement, which makes me feel sad but vindicated at the same time. Clearly there are lots of us who really enjoy(ed) this series, but are considering calling time on it now due to the poor writing. As I've said before, when I read cozy crime I'm not expecting Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare but that doesn't mean that the story can't be put together without it feeling like the author is simply churning out drivel to meet her publisher's deadline or, worse, that she doesn't actually care any more.
The plot. Umm, what was it? I started this book on the return flight from Hawaii, so it was a while back and I'm struggling to remember what happened. It was pretty absurd, to be honest; several deaths and/or near misses involving adders. There were lots of tangents, lots of page-filling for no apparent reason, lots of loose ends.
The blurb on the back reads: Agatha has fallen in love again. This time it's the local gardener, George Marston, she has her eye on. But competition for his attention abounds. With shameless determination Agatha will do anything to get her man, including footing the bill for a charity ball in town just for the chance to dance with him. But when George is a no-show Agatha goes looking for him - and finds he has been murdered.
Quite honestly, I can't recommend this book at all unless, like me, you are an avid Agatha Raisin fan and you can't bear not to read all the books in the series. Otherwise, you should definitely give it a miss. I think I might have to say goodbye to Agatha now, or at least read some reviews of the next in the series before I commit to reading it. Life is too short to read dreadful books!