Ok, people. We can all relax. This is the last of the Raisin books I’ll be reading on this particular Cannonball. I’m sure in the future there will be more offers for them on Kindle (I enjoy them, but I don’t enjoy them enough to pay more than £1 for them, don’t get me wrong) and they will feature in future Cannonballs, but for now, we’re done.
At the end of the previous instalment, James Lacey performed a volte face and re-proposed to Agatha. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the marriage doesn’t go well. Private arguments soon become public arguments when Agatha finds out that James didn’t quite end things with the blonde beauty he was seeing before marrying Agatha. And then, OF COURSE, James disappears from his bloodstained cottage and Nubile Blonde shows up with her head stoved in. Once again, Agatha is a prime suspect and once again, Sir Charles Fraith rides to her rescue.
This is probably the best of the series so far. It’s entirely ridiculous with the James Lacey sub-plot, but at least it puts the love triangle to rest once and for all. And for once the usual motives are absent. Nothing so straightforward as adultery and blackmail feature as possibilities. The waters are deeper and murkier here, and much improved for it. When Beaton makes it personal, it works so much better.
Alas, some of the good work is undone by a finale that is exactly the same as the other ten finales before it, but with Lacey out of the picture, if Beaton can smooth some of Raisin’s rough edges and make her just a titch less spiky and insecure, then the only way for this series to go is up.