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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Further Adventures of Agatha Raisin
In her 15th outing, the irascible Agatha Raisin continues to attract murder and mayhem. After being mugged in France, she decides to open her own detective agency. She's no Sam Spade, however, and what people are hiring her for is mainly to find missing cats and runaway teens. That is, until the very wealthy Mrs. Laggatt-Brown enters her office. Raisin Investigations...
Published on November 6, 2004 by Antoinette Klein

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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deadly Disappointing
As a long-time Agatha Raisin fan, I opened "Deadly Dance" with eager anticipation. What a disappointment! Although the story itself has all the elements of another excellent Agatha Raisin novel, Ms. Beaton's usually entertaining writing style has here turned choppy and abrupt. "Deadly Dance" reads like a story outline that an over-eager publisher accidentally printed...
Published on January 6, 2005 by Bigmommabird


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Further Adventures of Agatha Raisin, November 6, 2004
By 
Antoinette Klein (Hoover, Alabama USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
In her 15th outing, the irascible Agatha Raisin continues to attract murder and mayhem. After being mugged in France, she decides to open her own detective agency. She's no Sam Spade, however, and what people are hiring her for is mainly to find missing cats and runaway teens. That is, until the very wealthy Mrs. Laggatt-Brown enters her office. Raisin Investigations is off and running in a slightly madcap, slightly convoluted, but always entertaining story. Discovering who wants to murder Mrs. Laggatt-Brown's daughter and preventing the murder consumes Agatha and her staff.

Agatha still retains her biting humor but does appear to be softening a bit. She not only worries over losing friends, but she actually breaks down and cries in this one.

As always, there is a love interest. But devoted followers of the series will be relieved to know that finally a woman, and not a potential lover, has moved into the cottage next door. Will Agatha bond with new neighbor Emma Comfrey or will the cottage be up for sale yet again?

All the series favorites are in this one---Ron Silver is down from London and more flamboyant than ever, Mrs. Bloxby is there with her always comforting shoulder to cry on, and Bill Wong aids and abets Agatha's antics once again. Most interesting of all, we are finally given an inside look at the home life of Sir Charles Fraith and his aunt and manservant provide a lot of the biting humor.

All in all, an excellent addition to a most enjoyable series. One that leaves us wanting more, more, more of the wacky Agatha.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Deadly Disappointing, January 6, 2005
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This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
As a long-time Agatha Raisin fan, I opened "Deadly Dance" with eager anticipation. What a disappointment! Although the story itself has all the elements of another excellent Agatha Raisin novel, Ms. Beaton's usually entertaining writing style has here turned choppy and abrupt. "Deadly Dance" reads like a story outline that an over-eager publisher accidentally printed instead of the finished product. If you're a dedicated reader of the series and can overlook the awkward writing style, you'll probably enjoy the latest adventures of Agatha Raisin. But let's all hope that Ms. Beaton's literary skill returns before the next installment.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Raisin truimphs again, October 30, 2004
By 
tregatt (Portland, Oregon) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
Agatha Raisin has decided to become a private detective -- years of enthusiastically involving herself in police investigations and solving them ahead of the police has convinced her that she should turn professional. And so she rents an office in Mircester, hires a freelance photographer as well as retired police technician to do the electronic work, and her new neighbour, Emma Comfrey, as secretary-receptionist, and sits back, prepared to be overwhelmed with serious, perplexing cases. Except that the first few cases seem rather uninspiring: missing pets, teenagers and infidelity cases. And then rich divorce Mrs. Laggart-Brown walks into the office. Mrs. Laggart-Brown is about to host a dinner party where her daughter's (Cassandra) engagement to a stockbroker (Jason Peterson) will be announced. But just days before the party, Mrs. Laggart-Brown receives a letter threatening Cassandra's life. Mrs. Laggart-Brown want to hire Agatha to come to the party, mingle with the guests and keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour. And at the party, Agatha successfully thwarts an attempt on Cassandra's life. Now, Agatha and her team must begin the hunt for the would-be killer in earnest. Their suspects are practically non existent. For who would want to kill a young lady who's led a sheltered, quite life? And if that's not bad enough, Agatha must battle with her feelings of jealousy for her new secretary, Emma, who seems to be proving to be a rather good detective...

While not written in a wacky-zany vein, the Agatha Raisin mysteries are written with biting humour, and feature a heroine who seems to have the unhappy knack of creating farcical situations wherever she goes (a strange knack given that Agatha was once owned a successful PR company). With a penchant for falling in love rather unwisely, this time around, Agatha has decided not to allow her heart to rule her head. This made "Deadly Dance" refreshingly different. Agatha is still brusque, insecure and susceptible to good-looking men, but in "Deadly Dance" she doesn't start obsessing about them either -- or at least not all that much. The storyline is a tad convoluted this time around, but one hardly notices this thanks to M. C. Beaton's crisp writing style. Carefully plotted, "Deadly Dance" unfolds in a smooth and fluid manner, and made for compelling reading from start to finish. All in all, a good storyline, eccentric characters and a heroine whose brusque yet vulnerable manner makes her so very endearing (to me anyway), "Deadly Dance" was a fun read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This book is uneven in quality, April 29, 2005
By 
M. C. Crammer (Lawrenceville, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
Parts of it are very very funny -- the chapter at the end about Agatha's Christmas party (and her cats!) is so funny I was laughing out loud as I read it. But I found myself having trouble following the plot -- you needed to keep a genealogical chart and notes to figure out who everyone is and what is their relationship to other characters ("let me see, this is the second husband of this character's stepson...") Proper editing could have solved this problem (with a few deft reminders). You don't expect to have to work so hard to follow the plot in one of the Agatha Raisin series. The end result felt choppy.

For those not familiar with this series, you really should go back to the first, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (a very funny book), and begin reading the series in sequence. Agatha is a middle aged, semi-retired PR professional who buys a cottage in a Cotswald village and attempts to become a country woman -- with funny results. She ends up solving mysteries and getting into trouble in the process. And she has a habit of falling in love with unsuitable men.

In this book, she decides to open her own detective agency and hires the new woman in the village -- the current householder of the infamous cottage next door -- as her secretary. After a slow start, Agatha is hired to investigate a death threat against a young woman who lives in a manor house. The investigation requires some trips back and forth to Paris with long-time friend and sometimes lover Charles, the tight-fisted baronet who appears to be Agatha's match. Agatha's character is starting to change in this book -- she occasionally is noticing other people's reactions and feelings -- but the book is still very funny with its insensitive but very funny and fighting middle age Agatha Raisin. And Charles (who is a recurrent character in the series, as one of Agatha's few friends) was a major character in this book and started to come to life (I hadn't particularly liked him in previous books). Agatha's secretary/detective develops a crush on Charles, which creates problems.

This book is really a bit shy of 4 stars but I will continue to read more books in the series. I went with four stars because the Christmas party chapter is so funny.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Our Aggie Turns Pro At Last------With Mixed Results, March 6, 2005
By 
PMcD "PMcD" (Leawood, KS United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
In this most recent of M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series, the irascible, indomitable, love-starved Agatha finally opens her own private investigation agency. Agatha's re-entry into the work world promises to be as successful and full of adventures as her prior career in public relations.

As faithful readers of this series know, our Aggie has a long history of neighbor problems since moving to the Cotswold village of Carsely. It seems her next door neighbors are either handsome jackasses who treat her badly when she falls for them, or diabolically mean middle-aged women who are occasionally homicidal. So, it is not suprising when Aggie's new neighbor Emma Comfrey turns out to be a bit of a problem by asking Aggie for a job at the new detective agency, and then stealing Aggie's thunder and good press just when Agatha wants it most. Naturally, Agatha is jealous of Emma. And, perhaps just as naturally, Emma is jealous of Agatha.

This makes Agatha's first big professional case more than usually interesting. Agatha is hired by the rich and snotty Mrs. Laggat-Brown to find out who is threatening her lovely young daughter, who has just become engaged. Agatha's first professional action is, hilariously, to push her employer's daughter into a swimming pool at the daughter's engagement party.

Thus begins Agatha's second career as a P.I., as fairly outlined in previous reviews. The mystery in this novel is rather embedded in Agatha's personal travails, but is interesting and Beaton plays fair in placing her clues.

This novel rated only 3 stars from me simply because Beaton's writing is choppier than usual here-----making the novel appear to be hastily put together. In addition, the usual editorial errors are present, as are the continuity problems.

Characters from previous novels in this series are present here, but only in a peripheral way. Agatha's former office boy Roy Silver, vicar's wife Mrs. Bloxby (whose famous instincts seem off here), and fickle baronet Sir Charles Fraith are present. Adorable police officer and Aggie's first friend Bill Wong is barely mentioned, and is oddly cranky with Agatha---most out of character.

Beaton tries to bring everything together at the end of the novel with Agatha throwing a dinner party for everyone, which, of course, goes madly awry. Our Aggie is no cook, and she nearly burns down her house before hastily hustling caterers in surreptitiously through her back door. The humor is there, but so isolated and lacking in Beaton's usual warm style, that it falls rather flat.

I will continue to read this series, but hope desperately that Ms. Beaton finds better editors to work with her.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Yet, October 24, 2004
This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
They're all here: Agatha, Mrs. Bloxby, Bill Wong, Charles, Roy, the cats and the whole Carsley crew. What gives this book an extra wumph is the addition of a truly interesting would-be murderess worthy of the best writer of English Cosies working today. You'll laugh out loud from the first page. How Beaton does it again and again is one of the greatest mysteries here.

By-the-bye, why, oh why, hasn't somebody put Agatha on the screen? Who would you suggest? I've been thinking of Annette Benning. Can she do accents?
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another good read with charmingly irascible Agatha Raisin, November 25, 2004
By 
Patricia Tryon (Longmont, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
With considerable trepidation I picked up the book that re-sets the benchmark for Agatha Raisin's detections: she turns pro. Few amateurs manage that evolution in real life; fewer still make a successful transition in fiction. M.C. Beaton sails right into the different layers of this story: the tribulations of setting up a business, the trials of Agatha's love life, her nuanced friendship with the rector's wife, and -- oh, yes! -- a mystery. Agatha's small twinges of self-awareness continue to develop an interesting (if not always likeable) central character.

So much Agatha Raisin history provides near and distant context in this novel that I might hesitate to ask someone who has not yet made her acquaintance to begin here. But for those who, like me, have come to know Agatha as a surrogate for our own small town grandees and busybodies, this is another delightful read.

Not being English and never having lived in a Cotswold village, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of Beaton's portrayal of that slice of life. Strikingly, though, she again describes a setting brimming with personalities who, even in "walk-on" roles, obviously lead full lives with stories of their own. It is Beaton's consistent ability to avoid flattening even characters most at the story's edge and her way of evoking a complete community that make the Agatha Raisin mysteries so satisfying to read and, once put aside, to ponder.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Cotswold Cozy, November 7, 2008
Hard to believe this is Agatha #15. This time around, she's opened her own sleuthing business, and her first big case involves death threats, and a narrowly averted attempt, made against a local deb. The clues fall like rain for the alert reader, and it's not too difficult to spot the 2 cases of mistaken identity, and the who's, hows, and whys. But Beaton always offers light, fun reading, and what this one lacks in suspense, it makes up for with its Cotswold charm and wry humor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Deadly Dance, June 13, 2005
This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
This is the 15th book in the Agatha Raisin series. In the first fourteen books Agatha was an amateur detective solving crimes in her Cotswold village. After she has an encounter with a pickpocket on a Paris subway, she decides to open her own private detective agency called Raisin Investigations. Most of her early cases are missing cats and teenagers. Then a client hires her to investigate death threats made to her daughter, and the plot begins to thicken. Agatha is still grappling with getting older and attributes the pain in her hip to a strain as she thinks only old people get arthritis. She also has a knack for picking unsuitable men; she even has a flirtation with the prime murder suspect. The plot gets unnecessarily complicated and is somewhat choppy, and this is not the best book in the series. However, Agatha Raisin fans will still like it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Traditional British Mystery, October 30, 2004
This review is from: The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) (Hardcover)
The fifteenth novel featuring the rich but tightwad, bossy and vain, raunchy, crude and cranky Agatha Raisin. Now she has opened her own private detective agency. While waiting for an exciting case she gets hired to find missing cats, cars taken by young men leaving home, not very exciting. But of course that changes when .. and the bodies ....

Like the best of traditional British mysteries, this book is funny, filled with plot twists, interesting characters, and a clean and clear outcome. If you haven't already, this is an excellent way to introduce yourself to Agatha while you collect the rest of the series.
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The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15)
The Deadly Dance (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 15) by M. C. Beaton (Hardcover - November 2, 2004)
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