The Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton
Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Agatha Raisin #28
Publication Date: 10/3/17
Wow! I’ve found a new best friend and it is Agatha Raisin. I know I have come to this series late in its life, but I had no problem reading and thoroughly enjoying this latest addition to the series. I love M. C. Beaton’s books and particularly the Hamish Macbeth series and now this one. I do have to wonder though – does this author not want Hamish and Agatha to have HEA’s. I say that because Hamish seems to go from lady to lady without finding love and the same is apparently true for Agatha.
Agatha is fifty-three years old and has been married twice. To me, she is very depressed, lonely and insecure without a man in her life. I can only assume that is thoroughly explained in earlier books. She’s insecure about her looks and her lovability. She’s also strong, grumpy, sensible, quirky, funny, acerbic, and well – just likable. She is still friends with her last ex-husband – he even lives next door. Agatha also has an interesting relationship with her friend Sir Charles. It would appear that they actually may love each other, but neither of them realizes it or would admit it. I would like to see this relationship grow and come to an HEA for Agatha and Charles because I like both of them. Given the author’s other series though, I wonder if Agatha is destined to remain a lonely old cat lady for the rest of her days.
On a very dark, foggy night the new vicar and his wife are returning home from a very boring dinner party in the next town over. In a quick parting of the fog, their headlights illuminate something hanging from the Witches Tree – it is a body. The police soon determine the victim was murdered – and there are more bodies to come. What a gruesome welcome to the Cotswolds!
Agatha, who has her own private investigation firm, is retained to solve the crime. She’s so happy to do so because she has become very bored and tired of investigating divorce cases, lost cats, etc. This will be a welcome diversion for her.
The book is filled with quirky, interesting characters as most of Beaton’s books are. Everyone has a hidden ‘secret’ and before Agatha is finished, she knows them all. There is a host of suspects and Agatha eliminates them one-by-one and is still baffled – until she finds that one very important question she had forgotten to ask.
Can you believe a coven of witches in a small, beautiful English village in the Cotswolds? Well, there is one and they are a pretty nasty bunch. Agatha is sure they have something to do with the murders, but she isn’t sure what. Are they the murderers or are they just the enablers? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.
I almost didn’t request this book because the description of Agatha Raisin as ‘Agatha Christi like’ just didn’t appeal to me. I decided to request it anyway because I usually like Beaton’s work – and I’m so glad I did. I read the book straight through into the wee hours of the morning because I couldn’t wait to see what Agatha was up to next. I do hope Beaton decides to give Agatha the love she so longs for.
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”
About The Author:
Marion Chesney Gibbons
aka: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Marion Chesney, Charlotte Ward, Sarah Chester.
Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.
Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.
5 thoughts on “The Witches’ Tree by M. C. Beaton”
I haven’t started on the Agatha Raisin books after being put off by a particularly awful movie version of one of them. But I love Beaton’s Hamish MacBeth series and after reading your great review, I am going to give them a try.
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Barbara, I love the Agatha Raisin books too. You might also like to try the Mrs Polifax books by Dorothy Gilman. Mrs. Pollifax is a widow and senior citizen who works for the CIA.
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Oh, that does sound interesting. I usually just like the historical, English type novels, but I’ve found several more modern ones set in America that I like, so I’ll look them up. Thanks for the tip!
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Mostly, I read Historical Romances now but occasionally I like to dip into old favourites like Agatha Raisin and Mrs Polifax novels.
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Sandysbookaday: I hope you will like them. I hadn’t expected to like it because everybody kept comparing her to Agatha Christie, but when I decided to give it a try because I like Beaton — I was surprised. I had expected an old, roly-poly, nosey heroine – Agatha isn’t that way. I might go back and read some of the earlier ones.