Synopsis: Unlike quite a
number of people, Agatha had not given up on Christmas. To have the
perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream whilst 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, ex-husband James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and, like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more.
This year she is sure
that if she invites James to a really splendid, old-fashioned Christmas
dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log.
In the meantime, when a wealthy widow
hires Agatha because she is convinced a member of her family is trying
to kill her, Agatha is intrigued---especially when the widow drops dead
after high tea at the manor house. Who in this rather sterile house,
complete with fake family portraits, could have hated the old lady
enough to poison her?
Agatha sets out to find the murderer, all the
while managing a pretty, teenage trainee who makes her feel old.
My review: Agatha Raisin can be a bit sharp tongued, opinionated, pushy and whiney all at the same time. Her heart is in the right place when she hires Toni, a teenager running away from abuse.
Yet, while she manages to love and care for Toni, she whines about how inadequate, frumpy and old Toni makes her feel and she worries that Toni will steal her friends away.
I liked Toni and hope she stays around. There were plenty of characters to keep the book moving fast and the story interesting.