Cover Image: Down the Hatch

Down the Hatch

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Member Reviews

Agatha Raisin has still got it in this second posthumous M. C. Beaton novel.  R. W. Green and Penelope Keith continue to do the author proud in their portrayal of the characters who inhabit Carlsley.  Once again, R. W. Green writes this latest Agatha adventure as if he has been writing all of her adventures.  Well done!
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I really enjoyed this audiobook. I have read and/or listened to several books in the Agatha Raisin series, and this is one of the better ones I have personally read. 
The mystery was engrossing. It was complicated enough to keep the reader guessing without being confusing or overwhelming. It is still a fun read. I did not figure out whodunnit in advance. There are plenty of great plot twists to keep the story interesting. 
I like the Agatha Raisin character. I enjoy reading about middle-aged women who are not obsessed with their children and grandchildren. Agatha is a curmudgeonly old gal who actually looks her age, does not eat like a bird or wear a size 2. She is funny and likeable. 
This book stands alone, though it will probably entice readers into exploring more of this fun series. 
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
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I've been aware of the Agatha Raisin character for many years, but I hadn't ever really been immersed in the series. Down the Hatch feels fresh yet familiar. The whole time I was reading, I pictured Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote) as Agatha. This is a fun adventure. Full of goofy situations and peppered with clever humor. What I love about this style of private detective mysteries, is that not only do you solve the crime in the final moments, but many other little mysteries as well. Good fun all around. Long live Agatha Raisin!

I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Where have I been?! I cannot believe that this is the first time I have met Ms. Agatha Raisin! 

As I learned during the intro into this book, M. C. Beaton passed away, R. W. Green has kept Agatha Raisin alive for her fans. I have read that she is less snarky and fierce. I found her very professional and still a bit tough. I do think that I would love to go back and read one of the books from the original author so that I can gauge the difference.

I found this book extremely entertaining and I adored the narrator!
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Thank you, NetGalley, for the advance audio book in exchange for an honest review.

I was not a fan of this book to be honest.  Not a fan of the narrator – there was no differentiation of characters.  I have not previously read any Agatha Raisin books, which may have been my first mistake.  This book is the ninth in the series. Clearly a good amount of people DO like this character, Agatha Raisin, or there wouldn’t have been eight books before! 

Nothing about this book grabbed me. Nothing made me want to continue reading. This book and the characters felt old and stodgy to me. I could smell old people smell in the air when I listened.

I would recommend this audio book if you don’t actually want to listen, you just want background noise.  Or if you enjoy old people and their antics. Maybe other people will enjoy this book.  Unfortunately, I did not.
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Just couldn’t seem to get into this. I tried so hard. Listened to about 3/4 of it but it drug on and on. This is the first book I’ve read/ listened to in the series. I’ve watched a lot of the show with my hubby because he loves it so much. The books don’t seem anything like it. I figured it wouldn’t be but I thought it would be more interesting. So sorry to say. The characters fell flat for me but mostly the story. I may try some of the earlier books. As for the narrator, she was perfect! I loved her. And being in the south in USA, the accent was a breath of fresh air for me. I could listen to her all day. 
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher/author for this opportunity.
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M.C. Beaton is a tried and true favorite in the cozy (yet not so cozy mystery) genre.  I am sorry that she is no longer with us, to regale us with more tales of murder and mayhem.  I appreciate the collaboration, yet Agatha has lost her spark, and her lovable straight forward brashness.  It seems to me that the author knew that she would not be continuing with Agatha Raisin, and decided that she would wrap up Agatha's issues rather than keep her acerbic, some may even say ferocious attitude.  The heart-thumping, sitting at the edge of your seat moments were not a part of this book.  Agatha was nicer, people seemed to respect her and some even liked her.  She and James seem to be a couple, and all the other men in her life have been put in their place.  It was a pleasant, slow read - yet so very disappointing.  I would read another book by the new author but would probably put it on the bottom of my TBR list.
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My first Agatha Raisin book and I would have to say that it was just ok. It held my attention but just barely
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The previous couple of books in this series were rough, but I think the new author is finding their stride. However, I have read some feedback from readers that they don't like how Agatha has been softened so much from her strident, blunt origins. I don't really mind, and I can even suspend disbelief that she's been in her mid-50s for a couple of decades! The softer side of Aggie was counterbalanced by other characters and the victim himself, alternately adored and hated by those around him. It was a shame not to get much Bill Wong again, but Agatha brefriending his fiance was a nice touch. I enjoy how she is connecting more with the younger women around her, including Toni. As usual, the mystery wasn't too challenging to unravel, but I enjoyed the journey. Penelope Keith as narrator was as good as always--these books are more fun as audio, in my opinion.
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This is my first Agatha Raisin book. I hate to say it but I was underwhelmed. I enjoyed the quirkiness of the character but at times found her to hard around the edges. The mystery seemed to be on the backburner where her personality was the star of the book.
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One of the best Agatha Raisin stories in a long time! This book has several mysteries going on at the same time. It was challenging to remember clues yet delightful to revisit old friendly characters and their relationships. I am looking forward to more stories about Agatha and James!
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Of course, Agatha Raisin is back at it solving mysteries in the English Cotswold’s. This time she’s searching for the murderer of The Admiral, a local bowling club member. The police have decided its an accidental poisoning, but Agatha knows its murder and there are many people who would like to see the end of the autocratic Admiral. And if you know Agatha, there’s several other problems she must solve as well.  Penelope Keith’s narration is spot on.
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I enjoyed this story very much. It is the 32nd (!) adventure of Agatha Raisin, a classic cozy mystery series set in the Cotswolds in England. It kept my interest until the end. The narrator was fantastic!
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Down the Hatch is the 32nd installment of the Agatha Raisin series,  This is a series of cozy mysteries set in England, and Agatha is an interesting protagonist.  Agatha is on scene when a body is found.  The police believe it is alcohol that killed the man, but Agatha suspects he was poisoned.  Since she runs a private investigation agency, she is hired to investigate the murder further than the police are willing.  Through twists and turns, she is tenacious in finding out the truth.

This is my very first book in the cozy mystery genre.  I'm new to this genre, so I wasn't fully expecting some of the (I'm assuming) classic "silliness" of the genre.  It is more of a light hearted mystery, but still involving murder and mayhem.  It just doesn't seem as "serious" in some way.  For example, Agatha came across the scene of the crime because she had recently taken up power walking.  

I don't have any background with the character of Agatha, as this is the first book in the series that I have read.  I just felt like I lacked some connection with her.  Maybe its because I jumped in on the 32nd book, or maybe it is because the original author is deceased and someone else is writing the series now.  I just didn't love Agatha's character, and felt like even though this is a standalone story, I missed a lot of the background of the character and her life to make her likeable.

The narrator was great, and I enjoyed listening to the voices.  I just didn't love the story.

Thank you to the author(s), publisher, narrators and Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved the opening introduction about the late M.C. Beaton and how she worked towards creating the character Agatha Raisin. I could tell in some aspects that the new author of the series is not the original creator, but definitely one who worked closed in all previous writings with M. C. Beaton. Without giving too much away, the reader will finally get a more subdued but still fierce Agatha Raisin with this new author. The story itself was still a fun one and followed where M. C. Beaton left off. There is growth in Agatha Raisin this time around with her softer edges that some readers may have always hoped for. The ending of this one had me laughing and I can't wait to read more of one of my favorite series.
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I'm a fan of the Agatha Raisin series and was excited to get both the ebook and audio versions from NetGalley. I know, greedy, right? But while I do enjoy reading with my eyes, sometimes I don't have the time to do it and some books end up being better in one or the other format.

This one, however, wasn't all that great in either. I wanted to love it - because Agatha is a hoot - but I didn't. I couldn't get into any of the mystery aspects and Agatha seemed more cranky than funny. Maybe it's me. I hope it is. And there's a bit of a plot twist toward the end that seemed to be a bit much. I don't know... I'll give the next one a shot and see how I feel about the series at that point. 

If you haven't ever read one of the AR books but enjoy the show, don't jump in with this one. Go back to the beginning and start there.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for hooking me up!
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Down that Hatch is such a fun whodunit! Agatha Raisin is a truly intelligent and highly effective, not to mention entertaining, private detective. The story seems to start with various stories and happenings, and it was delightful to see them all together for completion at the end. Words were not wasted, and the story was genuinely well developed. The supporting characters added depth and not just embellishment. This is the first Agatha Raisin book I have read, and I now have all the others on my radar. I love everything from the mystery to the humor to the slight romance. I received a complimentary audio copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given. The narrator did a great job of capturing various persona, both male and female, and truly helped the story to come to life.
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This is the 32nd Agatha Raisin adventure and I've read 23 of them.  MC Beaton chose a collaborator and her successor so the series continues after her passing.  This is the first written under the name of R. W. Green.  I actually like the mystery.  Agatha has grown a little and changed through the years.  She isn't the fish out of water in the Cotswolds.  She has friends and employees that work with her and rely on her.  This book follows the basic pattern of Agatha coming across a body.  The coroner declares it accidental poisoning.  But Agatha knows in her gut it is murder, especially when she can't find anyone who is sad he is deceased.  Her private investigation agency also has a couple of other cases, one has Agatha crossing paths with exotic animal traffickers.  Her ex-husband and another previous love interest make appearances.  Honestly, I would be been fine with the series ending with Beaton's passing.  But I'm willing to give the new author a chance to see where Agatha is heading.  The book for me is three stars but I'm adding a star because of the delightful narration of Dame Penelope Keith on the audio book.  She and Agatha are a winning combination.  Thank you to NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing Audiobooks for the audio ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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EXCERPT: The scream came again.

This time, there was no mistaking the direction. It had come from behind the tall hedge bordering the path along which Agatha was walking. She ran towards a black wrought iron gate set in the hedge, thankful that she had changed her fragile office high heels for more robust low wedges before taking her walk. Bursting through the gate, she found herself in an area of flat open lawn. There were three people there dressed in white. One was a grey-bearded man lying on the grass, one was an elderly lady collapsed in some distress and the third was an old man, tending to the woman. Agatha rushed over to the woman, who was breathing heavily, clearly distressed, her eyelids fluttering.

'What happened?' asked Agatha, kneeling to talk to the man, who was cradling the woman in his arms.

'My wife collapsed,' he explained, then nodded towards the figure lying on the grass, 'when she saw him.'

'I'll be fine....' the woman gasped, looking up at her husband, 'a little thirsty...'

Agatha reached into her handbag and handed the woman a small plastic bottle of mineral water that was to have been part of her calorie controlled lunch. She also grabbed her phone, calling for an ambulance while heading towards the man spread-eagled on the grass.

'Yes, an ambulance, please. Mircester Park at the...' she glanced up at a sign above the door of a neat pavilion that overlooked the lawn, 'Mircester Crown Green Bowling Club. One woman collapsed and one man...' she looked down at the grey-bearded man on the ground, 'looks dead.'

ABOUT 'DOWN THE HATCH': Private detective Agatha Raisin, having recently taken up power-walking, is striding along a path in Mircester Park during her lunch break when she hears a cry for help. Rushing over, she finds an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Swinburn, in the middle of the green--with the body of an old man lying at their feet.

The man, who the coroner determines died by poisoning, was known as the Admiral, a gardener notorious for his heavy drinking, and Chief Inspector Wilkes writes the death off as an accident caused by the consumption of weedkiller stored in a rum bottle. Agatha is not convinced that anyone would mistake weedkiller for rum but carries on with her work at Raisin Investigations, until she receives an anonymous tip that the Admiral's death was no accident.

Local gossip points to the Swinburns themselves as the killers, spurred by a feud at the club where they, as well as the Admiral, were members. Distraught at this accusation, they turn to Agatha to clear their name, and she takes the case--despite the warnings of Chief Inspector Wilkes.

Agatha encounters one suspicious character after another, becoming further enmeshed in the Admiral's own dark and shady past. And when she's run off the road, narrowly escaping with her life, and then another attack occurs, it becomes clear that someone doesn't want the case closed--and will stop at nothing to prevent Agatha from solving it.

MY THOUGHTS: This is the 32nd book in the Agatha Raisin series and it's a lot of fun. If the fact that it is the 32nd book is a little daunting, let me reassure you that there is absolutely no need to have read the previous books to enjoy this. Each book works perfectly well on its own.

I read the very first in this series, The Quiche of Death, many years ago and didn't like it at all. Then a few years ago I came across another Agatha Raisin, I can't remember what it was called, but I quite enjoyed it and have been dipping in and out of this series ever since.

Down the Hatch is a classic English mystery set in a village in the Cotswolds, and the first death occurs at the local bowling club. Who knew bowlers were such a feisty lot?

There is plenty of misdirection in the form of red herrings and plenty of suspects at whom to point fingers. Not only does Agatha have a murder or two to solve, but also exotic animal smugglers to catch, which almost proves to be her undoing.

The majority of characters might best be described as bucolic, with the exception of Agatha and her sidekick Toni. Agatha upholds her standards with her high heels and handbags, the latter of which came in jolly handy in this story.

I thought the action leading up to the resolution was rather clever, and I enjoyed it. I will certainly be picking up more in this series to read.

Dame Penelope Keith narrated the audiobook of Down the Hatch. I could listen to her all day. She narrates Agatha beautifully, although she did slip back into her own voice occasionally when narrating long passages of other characters. It really didn't seem to matter, though.

There was a rather interesting foreword by R.W. Green, who has taken over the writing of the series since M.C. Beaton's death in 2019. There is also an introduction by M.C. Beaton in which she explains how the Agatha Raisin series came about.

This was a fun mystery, which I almost got right.


#DowntheHatch #NetGalley

I: @mcbeaton12345 @blackstonepublishing

T: @mc_beaton @BlackstonePublishing

#audiobook #contemporaryfiction #crime #murdermystery #privateinvestigator

THE AUTHOR: 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.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of Down the Hatch by M.C. Beaton and R.W. Green and narrated by Dame Penelope Keith for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

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I loved this audiobook installment of the latest Agatha Raisin mystery series.  The narrator does a great job of bringing the characters alive!
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