Review: The Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton

Title: The Witches’ Tree (Agatha Raisin #28)
Author: M.C. Beaton
Pages: 288
Genre: Mystery, Cozy
Source: Free ARC from Minotaur Books

Rating: 2 stars

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Minotaur Books via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Review: Let me start by saying, I’ve only read one other book by M.C. Beaton, the first in her other series Hamish Macbeth, and found it to be meh. But, she has such a loyal following, and sometimes the first in a series isn’t representative of the whole so…I thought I’d give this latest in her Agatha Raisin series a go. And I’m glad I did because now I know for certain that this author isn’t for me.

Man, I detest writing negative reviews. Usually, I just don’t finish and move it to my DNF shelf. But I felt compelled to give it a fair shake and see it through, and now it feels somehow dishonest to not explain why.

To begin with, the characters are completely unlikeable. Agatha is such a mess it is impossible to find the idea of her being a successful detective even remotely plausible. Perhaps she was more likeable at the beginning of the series and has slowly fallen apart throughout the series, and those who have read from the beginning are not appalled by her terrible behavior and personality because they know her from “back when”.  Her employees are mostly ok (that Simon guy though, really?), her “friend” Charles is almost as bad as she is. No, I don’t like the characters one bit.

The story itself seemed less about the actual detective work and more about poor Agatha and her desperation to find a man. And it was choppy. The format of the digital galley may be partly to blame, but only a little. The segues were almost nonexistent. New paragraph with no chapter demarcation and all of a sudden something completely unrelated is going on. The sexual assault plot line was poorly handled and should have been changed to something else. And it feels like in Agatha Raisin’s world, everyone is an arsehole and no one can be trusted. I’m not saying that’s how she feels, I’m saying that is how the world is portrayed. Even her friends are jerks!

I’m afraid I can’t recommend it (unless, of course, you are a huge Agatha Raisin fan, in which case you don’t really need my recommendation anyway, do you?). I wish I had stopped earlier and read something else. But as I said, the upside is, I’ve given both series a go and now I know that M.C. Beaton isn’t my cup of tea.

Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

10 Replies to “Review: The Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton”

  1. It’s always a shame to have unlikeable characters. I can’t stand choppy writing, though. That’s the one thing that’ll make me just set a book aside. Sorry you didn’t like it. I hope your next read is better!

    • Thanks! Unlikeable characters are ok if I can manage to connect with them in some way despite not liking them. Definitely not the case here. Choppy writing. Ugh. Flow and rhythm are essential to my enjoyment of a book. I’m bummed I made myself finish it. :/

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