Book Club #7 – Agatha Raisin and Kissing Christmas Goodbye – M.C. Beaton

Well last book club of the year, combined with a little bit of a Christmas party that was the way we were going to do it this time round. Now it would be fair to say that I was a bit nervous about this one. For two reasons, mainly the choice of book which I did describe to everyone as ‘Enid Blyton for adults’ and secondly because what on earth were we going to talk about – it was not just an easy lets find some book club questions on the book on the internet! I had to do my research as I realised from my last book club that winging it without questions just does not work! This time I was prepared and to my surprise we  had rather a lot to talk about.

Now to begin with, after cards and presents were exchanged and gossip caught up on and wine poured (bring your own – I provide only the glasses) we got down to have a quick recap on the previous book. (The Last Ten Seconds).  Mainly because many were missing that day, C on holiday, K in hospital. K had still tried to read the book, and I did say that perhaps it was not the right time for her, as she was struggling. Interestingly enough though a few days after that she did pick it up and was suitably gripped by it, not reading it before going to bed but certainly reading it and she loved it. So much that she did get to reading it before bed. K readily admits as did L about the book, not a book they would have normally read. C enjoyed it to and the fast pacing of the book was great.

Oh what a contrast good old Agatha Raisin is. I am pleased to say that everyone loved it. S enjoyed it but would probably not read another. L again enjoyed it and even though we joined the series in book 18, she did not feel she had missed out on anything by not reading the previous novels. In contrast K, was struggling to get into it as she felt she was missing out on too much background. She has since said though she has got into it and is enjoying it. C thought is was fun and quick to read and Agatha was a good character and had some redeeming features.

Nobody guessed whodunnit, but then it did not really matter I suppose. We all thought that Phyllis Tamworthy was an unpleasant creature and that actually could it have been suicide and not murder? Well we know it was murder. L commented on it must be a dangerous place to live, rather like Midsomer Murders I suppose. But also that Agatha was very much a Mrs Bouquet (Keeping up Appearances) and that no matter what she does, she always looks stupid by the end of it.

C wanted to go and live in the village and see what it was all about and loved the fact that they all called themselves by  Mrs this and Mrs that! She was not very keen on the epilogue that told us what happened once the perpetrator was caught, and Agatha had her Christmas to end all Christmases, C likes to continue the story without any help.

W commented that it was Penelope Keith who reads the audio versions of these and that immediately seemed the right person to play role on the television. Here again we refer to the wonderful Patricia Routledge who would probably make a good Agatha, and I thought Julie Walters would be good too, as she has a knack of being able to be someone else in the right clothes, think Mrs Overall (Acorn Antiques) and Petula Gordino (dinnerladies).

But what of M.C. Beaton? What else had she written, well I explained to those gathered that although this was book 18, she was now on book 23 (I think) and that it is normally one a year, and she also writes the Hamish Macbeth novels, which were optioned for television. She is somewhat of  recluse perhaps, but I thought that she looked like how I imagine Agatha Raisin to be – and thanks to the speed of iPad showed everyone a picture! Not what everyone was expecting!

So there we go, a book I would never have thought we would discuss at a book club meeting and one that we found plenty to talk about! L has sought out the first book, because she particularly loved the titles of them. They are quick easy reads so great for escapism. K is still catching up with it and S enjoyed it and was what she needed, but will not be reading more. C I think might seek another couple to read and probably so will W. Me, well I have gone back to reading them in order, because I like to do things like that!

So the book club broke up for its Christmas break with lots of lovely food, drink and company. And for the first book of 2013, well I suggested three and the one that seem to get the most interest on the basis that it was fun and something light as January can be a bleak month is Sue Townsend – The Woman who went to Bed for a Year.