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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Kissing Christmas Goodbye by M.C. Beaton @mc_beaton @BlackstoneAudio

TITLE: Kissing Christmas Goodbye
SERIES: Agatha Raisin, Book #18
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton 
NARRATOR: Wanda McCaddon
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2015
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 5 hrs and 48 mins
GENRE: Mystery/Cozy Mystery, Holiday
Unlike quite a number of people, Agatha has not given up on Christmas. To have the perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream while surviving a rough upbringing in a Birmingham slum. Holly berries glistened, snow fell gently outside, and inside, all was Dickensian jollity. And in her dreams, James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more...

Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she'll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: Christmas and her ex, James Lacey. This year Agatha is sure that if she invites James to a splendid Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log. But that fantasy will have to wait for now. A wealthy widow - who had sent Agatha a letter saying a member of her family intended to kill her - has been found dead. Now Agatha must set out to find the murderer, even though, in her heart, she's still dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones she and James used to know.
MY REVIEW:

I always enjoy holiday fiction, and I did love this one! Agatha has always wanted a traditional Christmas feast, and she wants to invite all her friends and staff to the party. The most important guest on her list is, unfortunately, James Lacey. She fantasizes that James will kiss her under the mistletoe, and their love affair will be renewed. Do you think that’s really the way it is going to go? On to the mystery: Agatha receives a letter from Phyllis Tamworthy, who believes that one of her family members is trying to kill her.

Now that Harry Beam has returned to university, Agatha needs someone to help out with the simple cases like the lost pets. Mrs. Freedman encourages her to hire a young girl as a trainee. She hires 17-year-old Toni Gilmour, a pretty but old-fashioned girl. Toni’s talent is wasted on looking for lost pets, and she proves her worth to Agatha by getting the dirt on a cheating spouse.

Agatha’s maternal instincts are developing! She takes Toni under her wing. When she finds out that Toni’s mother is a drunk and her brother is abusive, she buys a flat for Toni. Agatha insists that Toni learn how to drive, so not only does she pay for her lessons but also gets her a car! Having Toni around makes Agatha feel old, and that darn hip of hers is still bothering her, so maybe that’s why she feels maternal towards her? Or is it that Toni’s home life reminds Agatha of her own less-than-stellar upbringing? When Roy Silver shows up on Agatha’s doorstep in tears, the timing isn’t good for Agatha but she insists that he come in and tell her all about it. Roy was involved in the launch of a new perfume, but the client was impossible to work with and she complained to Mr. Pedman, who sent a rival Public Relations Officer in Roy’s place. Now Roy is distraught that his career is over. With a quick phone call, Agatha brings bad publicity to the perfume company which reflects badly on the new PR girl, so Mr. Pedman begs Roy to come back and fix it all. I love how Agatha has evolved throughout the series. Under her sometimes abrasive and brash exterior, she is compassionate and generous to those she cares about. I think a bit of Agatha is rubbing off on Mrs. Bloxby, and I think that’s a good thing! I loved that scene between her and Alf. I also enjoyed how Charles and Roy paired up to give Agatha the perfect Christmas gift!

Here is my only beef: Penelope Keith, where are you??? This is the first book in the series (really, a change in narrator at Book #18?) that is narrated by someone new, Wanda McCaddon. It wasn’t that her narration was terrible, just that she isn’t Penelope Keith! I love the verve and spunk that Ms. Keith brings to Agatha’s character. Ms. McCaddon’s version of Agatha just kind of fell flat for me. Bring back Ms. Keith! I miss her, and I have to knock a star off my rating because of the narration.

MY RATING:


4 stars! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list if you enjoy cozy mysteries!

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