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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Agatha Raisin and The Perfect Paragon by M.C. Beaton @mc_beaton @BlackstoneAudio @PeneKeith1

TITLE: Agatha Raisin and the Perfect Paragon
SERIES: Agatha Raisin, Book #16
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton 
NARRATOR: Penelope Keith
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: February 1, 2013
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 6 hrs 
GENRE: Mystery/Cozy Mystery
After being nearly killed by both a hired hit man and her former secretary, Agatha Raisin could use some low-key cases. So when Robert Smedley walks through the door of her detective agency, determined to prove that his wife is cheating on him, Raisin Investigations immediately offers to help. Unfortunately for Agatha, Mabel Smedley appears to be the perfect wife: young, pretty, and a regular volunteer at church. But just as Agatha is ready to give up, Smedley is poisoned with weed killer, leaving Mabel, the prime suspect, poised to inherit a fortune. With no one left to pay her, Agatha has to drop the investigation - that is, until her old friend Sir Charles Fraith turns up again to rekindle her curiosity in the case.


Agatha is in a bit of funk because business is slow. She has gone through a big changeover in staff, and she is chomping at the bit to get a really big case to get some money rolling in. Divorce lawyers had been referring cases to her, but she had stopped taking on that type of work because it left a bad taste in her mouth after her own experience. She had to let go her two freelance professionals: retired newspaper photographer, Sammy Allen, and retired police officer, Douglas Ballentine. Their fees were just too expensive, but she needs someone with camera experience. Mrs. Bloxby encourages Agatha to meet with Phil Witherspoon, and she scoffs because he is 76 years old! She finally relents, because she can’t bear the thought of disappointing her dear friend. At her meeting with Phil, she mentions that there hasn’t been much business which Phil finds odd because there is so much infidelity in the Cotswolds! Agatha tells him that she doesn’t do divorce cases anymore, and he tells her that it’s a shame because that’s where the money is. He mentions a man named Robert Smedley, who lives in Ancombe and is very rich and thinks his wife is cheating on him. Phil said he could refer Robert to Agatha, and the meeting is arranged. Agatha is put off by Robert’s disposition and quotes a hefty fee for a retainer, thinking that will get rid of him. Instead, he pulls out his chequebook and Agatha has a new case and a new photographer! In addition, the media has reported a missing 16-year old girl, Jessica Bradley, and police have no leads. Agatha sets out with Phil, and the two of them find the girl’s body and call the police and the press. Agatha has to admit to the press that it was Phil’s idea to search the area where they had found her, and she is dismayed when Phil is the one who grabs the headlines instead of her! Agatha vows to Jessica’s mother to find the killer.

I like the new additions to Agatha’s staff. Aside from Phil, there’s her new secretary, Mrs. Freedman, and Mrs. Freedman’s nephew, Harry Beam, who is looking for work to fill his gap year and is quite the character. Both Charles and Roy return to Carsley, and I always love when they are around.

Agatha is having a hard time facing the fact that she is getting old. Her hip is bothering her, but she refuses to accept that it could be arthritis!

With each book, Agatha is appearing to become more soft and kind-hearted! She hires Phil to please Mrs. Bloxby (which turns out to be an excellent decision, by the way), she works on Jessica’s case at no charge, and then Agatha goes above and beyond the call of duty to restore Roy’s tarnished reputation. She is also getting better at sharing the limelight! Dear Aggie, there is so much more to you than what meets the eye!

The ending was completed unexpected for me, and I am anxious to jump into the next in the series!

Penelope Keith has spoiled me with her narrations! I will never read an Agatha Raisin book because I must listen to Ms. Keith!! She has the perfect blend of sarcasm, attitude, and vulnerability to pull off the many facets of Agatha's personality. I love her other characterizations as well, especially Roy!



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