20 Dec 2022


 Time for not only my second 'Christmas' read of 2022 but also my 3rd, both of them, well, a tad bit different from the typical heart-warming books I tend to read at this time of year.


Yuletide overindulgence on the poison front ...

During the dark, grey days of early December, Agatha is obsessed by two things - the looming festivities and her ex, James Lacey. In order to drive the latter from her thoughts, Agatha concentrates on planning the perfect Christmas for her friends.

Spoiler begins > Even the murder of a Mrs Tamworthy, poisoned with hemlock, does little to distract her - and yet it should as Mrs Tamworthy has written to Agatha, telling her that one of her family wanted to see her dead before the year was out. So slightly guilty {and belatedly}, Agatha sets out to solve the case before Christmas Day rolls around ... <Spoiler ends ... Back Cover Blurb

The 18th instalment in a long running series that I believe now numbers 34 titles in total, however, its my first time reading not only these books but also anything by this author. 

As a new comer, I can't possibly comment on the  previous books but I couldn't help but wonder if, with so many books in the series {to say nothing of the  other books - I believe I'm correct in saying there are a 109 in total}, the author had become a bit complacent, her writing, somewhat mediocre.

One of those novels in which you don't really need to have read the other books to understand what is going on though admittedly I found myself intrigued by the rather unconventional relationship between Agatha and her ex-husband.

If only I'd have been as interested in the rest of the book in which, as is usually the case with 'Christmas' novels, Christmas took a back seat, the plot for the main part taking place in ... October, with only the last chapter or two dedicated to a somewhat farcical 'Christmas' party that, hardly festive, fell flat.

An OK pre-Christmas distraction read ... but then that's probably me being generous as overall I thought the book had an disappointingly unfinished feel about it, as if the author had sketched the outline of the plot and the proposed character development intending to go back to it but but never did ... Oh! And don't get me started on the silly 'witchcraft' element.


Christmas. A time for friendship. a time for family. A time for fear ...

Swept up in the magic and romance of meeting a handsome stranger at Christmas time, Jessica Gold makes a spontaneous decision.  But now she is being held prisoner.

Every day he gives her a small gift, each one more disturbing than the last. She knows he has something special planned for the twelfth day of Christmas - but can she outwit him before its too late. 

The countdown is on, and time is running out ... ... Back Cover Blurb

Dark, deeply disturbing, macabre. Oddly enough for a book that is about as far removed from the romance, the glitz, the office parties, Father Christmas, snowmen, mulled wine, kisses under the mistletoe and all of that, Dying For Christmas is in many ways one of the least festive books you'll read and, yet, set over the '12 days of Christmas', it probably features Christmas more than your average 'Christmas novels'.

A book of two halves, the main thread of the story interrupted by chapters voiced by the female detective investigating Jessica's disappearance. Hmm! Interesting in so much as it gave a great insight into a working women who, a wife and a mother, feels she has to prove herself, to put in all of the hours {and then some} as her male colleague, I'm not however sure it added anything to the book really and, I admit, I'm a tad put out by its non-resolution.

But I digress ...

Beginning days before Christmas when Jessica Gold gets talking to a stranger whilst Christmas shopping, the first half of the book sees 'silly Jessica Gold' held captive, her captor giving her a gift every day; only these gifts aren't of the usual kind - in fact they are far from it. 

The second half, well!

Twisted in knots and questioning everything I thought I knew, I'm still pondering whether I thought the second half of the book genius or ridiculously implausible and, quite frankly, disappointingly fantastical. 

Still, worth, if not five stars, certainly four and a half; engrossed from the beginning, it kept me entertained.


Kelly said...

I read the first Agatha Raisin mystery many years ago, but never moved forward with the series (though I think I enjoyed it well enough). I just have too many other cozy series I'm already invested in.

I'm not really tempted by the second story. It sounds a little too dark for this time of year for me.

Literary Feline said...

I've only read one MC Beaton book and I was disappointed in that one too. I haven't picked up anything else by the author sense. I know her Agatha Raisin series is a favorite though. Dying For Christmas definitely sounds like a very different type of holiday-themed novel! I am glad you found that one entertaining.

nightwingsraven said...

After reading your review of these two
books. I am very uncertain if I would
appreciate Agatha Raisin and Kissing
Christmas Goodbye. But perhaps I would
appreciate Dying For Christmas.
But thank you for your excellent review.

Karen said...

Funny how the darker one had more Christmas lol

I wonder if this is becoming a thing - several of my friends have been reading Christmas thrillers.

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!!

Karen @For What It's Worth

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

I never invested in the 'Agatha Raisin' series, as with the best will in the world, I could never hope to keep up with such a prolific author.

I have not come across Tammy Cohen's books before, however I really like the sound of some of her other titles too, and after taking into account the rating you decided on for 'Dying For Christmas', I am adding her name to my list!

Hope you are both well! Sending you and yours Best Wishes for the Festive Season! Here's hoping for a calm and peaceful New Year xx

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

I haven't read any of them but I hadn't realised there were so many M C Beaton books. You have to wonder about the quality they can be written and published so quickly.

Anyway... Wishing you all the best for 2023!

DMS said...

These sound like interesting Christmas reads. How interesting that Christmas plays more prominently in the second one! It does sound like a riveting book. Thanks for sharing. :)