Penelope Keith stars as Agatha Raisin, the Columbo of the
Cotswolds, in two full-cast BBC Radio 4 Dramas based on the
best selling books by M.C. Beaton...
Potted Gardener & The Walkers of Dembley is
the second volume of Agatha Raisin audio plays to be
released through BBC Audio. Both stories feature Penelope
Keith as the curmudgeonous Agatha Raisin - a middle-aged woman
who has retired from the cut-throat world of PR and moved
from London to the sleepy village of Carsely. With too much
spare time on her hands, she also discovers that she has a
knack for amateur detective work.
two plays on this double CD collection were originally broadcast
on Radio 4 in June 2004 (both split into two half-hour parts).
With the run up to the annual garden festival the village
or Carsely is gripped with enthusiasm for water features and
mulch. But when someone seems to be going around destroying
peoples' gardens, Agatha is determined to dig deep and root
out the wrongdoer. But before she can track down the vandal,
one of the residents of Carsely is found murdered. Agatha
makes it her business to find out who killed her former horticultural
this story builds incredibly well the conclusion is a little
rushed. The murderer gives themselves up a little too quickly,
which is a shame. Although, I suppose you could argue that
as they then immediately attempt to commit suicide, confessing
was something that they had planned to do anyway, and that
murder was something that they just couldn't live with.
Walkers of Dembley:
Keen to get closer to nature, Agatha joins James Lacey's walking
group. After witnessing a stand off between some ramblers
and a groundskeeper, Agatha and James are subsequently hired
to investigate the murder of a militant rambler. They go undercover
as a married couple in order to stay in Dembley and see if
the locals know anything.
am probably the world's worst amateur sleuth, but I had my
suspicions about something fishy going on even before the
murder. And, once the murder had been committed, I correctly
guessed the murderer.
were also a few lines that had me reaching for a sick bag.
When Sir Charles informs someone that he will let them into
his private area I nearly lost my lunch... But this is intentionally
sleazy and corny and does the trick in making you think Sir
Charles is a bit of a slime ball
synopsis for both stories, that appear on the back of the
CD case, seems to have been written by someone who hasn't
even listened to the plays. The murder victim in the first
tale wasn't found "hanging from her conservatory roof"
and in the second play Agatha didn't join the walking group
to get closer to James Lacey.
problem is that nowhere on this CD does it let the potential
purchaser know that this is Volume 2 in the series.
We received this and Volume 1 at the same time to review
and by pure chance I listened to this volume first. Volume
1 explains why Agatha is a relative outsider to the village
(it starts with her retirement in London) and concerns the
mysterious death of her neighbour. Listening to the events
out of sequence spoils the overall enjoyment of the stories.
As I listened to this CD first, it was pretty obvious who
had killed Agatha's neighbour in the first episode on Volume
1. As I already knew that her neighbour was James Lacey,
and he doesn't appear on the first episode, it was safe to
assume that the murdered man's wife killed him - allowing
the house to be put on the market. Okay, she could have moved
away to start afresh because the house had too many memories,
but you soon learn that she's not the sort of woman to let
something like that bother her.
from those minor quibbles, and the fact that the main character
is obviously called Agatha in an attempt to fool the book
buying public into thinking - at a quick glance - that this
is an Agatha Christie crime series, this is an enjoyable collection
of tales that comes to life incredibly well thanks due to
the impressive vocal talents of Penelope Keith and Malcolm