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Agatha Raisin #20

There Goes the Bride

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James Lacey wandered over to the window of his hotel room. His fiancée, Felicity, was asleep. He was feeling some twinges of unease. What he loved about Felicity was the way she looked at him with her large eyes, appearing to drink in every word.

But on the plane journey, he wondered if she were listening to him. “The order to charge was given,” said James, “and a spaceship landed in the valley and some little green men got out.” “Fascinating,” breathed Felicity. “You weren’t listening!” “Just tired, darling. What were you saying?”

James heard a commotion down below the hotel. He opened the window and leaned out. A woman had tripped and fallen getting into a cab. He only got a glimpse but he was suddenly sure the woman was Agatha. A familiar voice rose on the Crimean air, “Snakes and bastards!”

Bossy, impulsive, yet hopelessly romantic, Agatha is dreading the upcoming marriage of her ex-husband, James Lacey. Although she has set her sights on a handsome and beguiling new Frenchman, she can’t quite stop obsessing about James.

Her best intentions to move on with her life are put on hold when James’s young bride is shot to death just minutes before saying “I do,” and Agatha is named the prime suspect. Agatha’s sleuthing sidekick Toni stands ready to help find the real killer, but the case proves trickier than ever.

Will her name be cleared, or has the outrageous Agatha finally had her last romp?

6 pages, Audio CD

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

M.C. Beaton

373 books5,235 followers
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Marion Chesney Gibbons
aka: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Marion Chesney, Charlotte Ward, Sarah Chester.

Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.

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5 stars
1,599 (22%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 520 reviews
Profile Image for Kathy .
691 reviews228 followers
September 14, 2010
Finally, I've finished by Agatha Raisin reading blitz of the whole series (until the new one comes out in October). I have to admit, because after the first one I wasn't sure I would like the character, that I am now a big Agatha Raisin fan. I enjoyed her emotional and social growth throughout the series, and I think it was an advantage in reading straight through the series to fully appreciate that growth. Her humanity was somewhat lacking in the beginning, but Agatha has done a lot of growing up by the end of book #20. Of course, being in my fifties and reading about a woman in her fifties who encounters much of the same that the rest of we more mature women do makes the storyline nicely relevant for me. The humor which ensues because of the situations in which Agatha entangles herself endears the character to the reader even more. This series is what a cozy mystery read should be.
Profile Image for Jenny L.
706 reviews3 followers
September 26, 2013
Read them! All of them. All 23. They are simply fabulous! I love them and love Agatha Raisin. The stories are set in the English Cotswolds - which is where I'm from, so that makes them extra special, but I cannot recommend them highly enough. If you want to read about an opinionated, outspoken, headstrong single woman in her middle years with no money worries, but men worries and murder at every turn, then you too will love Agatha Raisin. Just make sure you buy more than one at a time, because you will regret it otherwise!
Profile Image for Fiona MacDonald.
674 reviews166 followers
May 21, 2019
What I love so much about Agatha Raisin, is her constant optimism in the face of adversity. There was a moment in this book where it seemed like she would retire, but all she really needed was a good holiday!!
Agatha is plunged this time into a murder plot involving the death of her ex husband James's fiance (on her wedding day no less!!) She is also sweet talked by a suave and slimy Frenchman called Sylvan who has numerous dark secrets of his own, as well as the usual panicked calls to her best friend Mrs Bloxby and random visits from her friend Charles, who always managed to save Agatha at the right minute. I'm glad Agatha manages a few trips away to exotic European places in her stories, but I'm always so relieved when she arrives back again at her beloved Carsley to see her cats and pour herself a stiff drink.
Profile Image for Erin L.
975 reviews39 followers
October 29, 2015
I'm in the middle of the next book in the series, having just finished this one. Honestly, I feel like the author is just phoning it in at this point.

While I do still see some character development in Agatha, she still makes the same mistakes again and again. And at the end of this book, there were entire chapters devoted to completely pointless crap. I know why it was put in there, but I also strongly suspect it was mostly added to make the book an acceptable length. It also felt contrived and rushed. It was a plot line that may have been better handled as a subplot through the entire book rather than tacked on at the end.

I'm also tired of her hip and how aging it is to have to have a hip replacement. Which, let's be honest, I don't know that many people in their 50s who have had to have a hip replacement.

She's vain, rude and jealous - and she has every right to be jealous - she's kind of right. Toni is the one solving all of the crimes so let her do it and just run the business already.

I think I might be done with the series.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
1,999 reviews15.7k followers
August 18, 2017
Agatha's love life was quite a hot mess in this book....
Agatha going to a dating service was absolutely priceless! Every date Agatha had in this book was quite hilarious.... and this book made me think once again that Agatha and Charles really do belong together, even though Charles is such a selfish ass.... there was quite a lot going on in this book, and as I've mentioned in other reviews I truly like the addition of Tony and Sharon now as well, I like the dynamic of the youth with Agatha.....
Profile Image for Lanelle.
318 reviews
June 17, 2019
You'd think the main character was in her late teens or early 20s, and not in her mid 50s. There was so much angst, doubts, sexual thoughts, and language.
Profile Image for Damaskcat.
1,782 reviews4 followers
March 29, 2017
Agatha Raisin's former husband, James Lacey is getting married. Agatha has mixed feelings about this event and to take her mind off it she decides she has fallen for a glamorous Frenchman she met at James' engagement party. All the series characters are invited to James' wedding but it seems all is not well with the happy couple and precisely what is the glamorous Frenchman up to?

This is an intriguing mystery with plenty of action and some nail biting scenes in which it seems Agatha just may have bitten off more than she can chew in the way of murky investigations. It is fast paced with plenty of interesting characters and amusing dialogue and situations.

I love Agatha as a character. She isn't perfect - she's outspoken and tactless and blunders around much of the time stumbling across the solutions to her mysteries as often as not. She is very human but she is also good at her job and her detective agency - with the help of the staff - gets good results. This is the twentieth book in the series. The books can be read in any order but they are best read in the order in which they were published so that the reader can follow the relationships between the various series character.
Profile Image for Jo Berry ☀️.
218 reviews4 followers
November 12, 2022
The story is all over the place. James Lacey is set to get married, his future wife is murdered on their wedding day, but he doesn’t seem bothered about it and plays no role in investigating the case. There are a lot of repeated ideas throughout and random stories that aren’t connected to anything else. It was all very oddly put together and not very satisfying. I’m certain a lot of it is down to just needing to make up the word count.

Then there are some rather dubious comments, gay stereotypes, and this line from one of the random, unconnected bits of stories about a missing fifteen year old girl Agatha is looking for: ‘She was too tall and not nearly pretty enough to attract a paedophile’, (p.176). Just what?! This was only published in 2009! Anyway, the whole case of this missing girl is dealt with in half a chapter and then abandoned. I don’t know why I gave another of these books a chance. They’re just so lazily written and outdated.
Profile Image for Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic) .
993 reviews112 followers
September 10, 2019
I absolutely love the Agatha Raisin series and this book does not disappoint at all!

Poor Agatha has a right roller coaster of a time in this one! We follow Agatha through another mystery and get to see more of her friends again such as Sir Charles (possibly one of my favourite of her friends!), the characters are explored more deeply and we get to see a bit more of Agatha's vulnerability which deepens the connection with her.

This is one of them mysteries that twists and turns just when you think it is finally solved and case closed something else pops up and blows it open. I would highly recommend this book and this series
Profile Image for Alan Teder.
1,913 reviews82 followers
September 28, 2021
Agatha and the Ex's Wedding
Review of the Blackstone Audio Inc. audiobook edition (September 2009) of the original St. Martin's Press Minotaur hardcover (September 2009)

There Goes the Bride finds Agatha faced with having to attend the wedding of her ex, James Lacey. The bride is murdered though before the ceremony and Agatha becomes one of the suspects along with James. Meanwhile Agatha falls for a suave Frenchman named Sylvan Dubois. The case becomes somewhat of a never ending cycle as Agatha is under threat from the villain and their allies for an extended time.

I'm continuing to enjoy the fun of these cozies which are somewhat different from the TV-series which I saw first. Agatha is definitely more cranky in the books, but it is her human faults that make us accept her. Young detective Toni Gilmour continues here in this book #20 (in the TV series she was brought in at the beginning of Season 3, but as the niece of the housekeeper Simpson). Sir Charles is much more of a recurring character and occasional love interest than he is in the screen adaptation and his cheap and chintzy manners are played up quite a bit.

The narration of this book #20 marks the return of the series regular reader Penelope Keith after Wanda MacCaddon narrated the previous 2 books. MacCaddon was fine in the role but gave a much more restrained performance than Keith does in the other voices e.g. the exaggerated vocal mannerisms of Roy and Sir Charles.

Most (28 of 32) of the Agatha Raisin audiobooks are free on Audible Plus. A continuation series Book 32 Down the Hatch is yet to be released, and is expected to be published in October 2021. Down the Hatch is apparently entirely written by continuation writer R.W. Green whereas #31 Hot to Trot was a collaboration with M.C. Beaton.

Trivia and No Link
There Goes the Bride has been adapted for the currently ongoing Agatha Raisin TV series (2016-). It is currently scheduled to be broadcast as Episode 4 in the upcoming Series 4 later in 2021/early in 2022. There is no trailer yet available.
Profile Image for Aimee Nicole Walker.
Author 55 books1,727 followers
February 1, 2022
This was my favorite Agatha Raisin to date. So much growth, which means we see a more vulnerable side of Agatha. She still lets vanity and her fear of aging cause her unnecessary trouble but she’s something else. I loved the addition of Toni in book 18 and I hope she sticks around for a long time. Toni brings out the maternal, mama bear instincts in Agatha and challenges her at the same time. And Charles. That scoundrel. I adore him. I find James Lacey a silly bore and struggle to recall what I ever liked about him.
Profile Image for Beachcomber.
449 reviews9 followers
August 1, 2020
God this was awful. James is getting married and the bimbo bride gets shot on the wedding day. But after a bit of half hearted investigating, that’s it for that mystery. James and Charles randomly decide to play detectives, find a case and solve it in like 6 pages. Then there’s a bit of this, and a bit of that, all just filler. Agatha is jealous of everyone and everything, one character keeps trying to kill her, and it’s all wrapped up by page 200, yet there’s another 90 pages of fluff - going to Turkey and another embarrassing falling for a man who is a fake, then back to Carsley where she falls for a man who comes in long enough to propose, take her to France, undergo a personality transplant and pad the story out for a few more pages. Utterly awful. Does Beaton just randomly pull scenes out of a hat and bash them together, hoping if she gets to the requisite page count that’ll make a story?
Profile Image for Linette.
113 reviews7 followers
July 23, 2016
Although I love Agatha Raisin and continue to read these because of her, the stories have become somewhat formulaic and shallow, rushing through entire relationships beginning to end sometimes in a few pages.
Profile Image for Karen M.
584 reviews9 followers
April 30, 2018
This series never fails to entertain me. Sometimes you just need to read something light and funny. I always look forward to seeing what trouble Agatha's ego will get her into next.
Profile Image for Gerry.
Author 43 books92 followers
March 26, 2020
At one point in 'There Goes the Bride', Agatha Raisin's policeman friend Bill Wong says, 'I should think you've enough work on your hands at the moment ... Just let the police get on with their job.' There's as much chance of that happening as there is of Agatha resisting the charms of any man who chooses to flirt with her.

And so it proves in this thrilling tale of murder and mayhem. It all begins with Agatha thinking of going over to Paris to meet up with a beau she had met at Agatha's ex-husband (most recent that is) James Lacy's engagement party. Dreaming of love in the city made for it, she discovers on ringing Sylvan Dubois at his Paris apartment that another lady is on the scene. She therefore decides to go to Istanbul, where Lacy has taken his soon-to-be bride for a holiday.

This all leads to complications, as is usual with Agatha, and then, before the wedding takes place the first murder is committed. Others follow, as they always do wherever Agatha ventures, and despite the warnings of Bill Wong Agatha is determined to find out who is behind them, with the help of some of her young assistants at her detective agency. Incidentally, she is jealous of one of them, Toni, because she is young and pretty and when cases are reviewed in the press it is always Toni who the press want to photograph ... this does not go down well with vain Agatha.

There are some serious near fatal misses for Agatha as she continues her search for the criminal(s) and there are also some embarrassing moments for her as she embarks on a variety of relationships, all of which end disastrously. The ever faithful Charles Frail is usually there to pick up the pieces and once everything is sorted out, Agatha finds herself in the south of France with Charles.

When she relates this to her friend, the vicar's wife Mrs Bloxby, the latter says to her, 'You didn't did you?' Did she, who knows? Whether she did or not it won't stop her in her next exciting episode!
Profile Image for bella.
249 reviews24 followers
August 25, 2015
Trouble (and murder!) seem to follow Agatha Raisin around. This time when Agatha attends her ex-husband's wedding she doesn't expect the bride to turn up dead, but that is exactly what happens. While Agatha isn't sure how she feels about James Lacey, her ex-husband and on-and-off again crush, she certainly doesn't wish his fiance dead. When Felicity Bross-Tilkington turns up dead right before the "I Do's" the policy point their fingers at Agatha and it's up to Agatha to prove her innocence.

I love Agatha. I have right since the first time I listened to The Quiche of Death on audio. She is a one-of-a-kind sleuth. She's bossy and domineering, she's "mature" and she doesn't deny that she's looking for the love of her life, with sex included! She's fantastic in my books and of course I love reading/listening to every single one of her adventures.

I feel like she's gone through so much and not gotten her happy ending yet, and you can feel that emotional turmoil in There Goes the Bride. I feel like the build up of the last few books is resolved in this one, and she finds her "place" again in Carsley.

Through the course of finding her place she also solves a murder, finds a missing girl and tries dating! Not bad for a "mature" woman that could sometimes give grumpy cat a run for his money!!

I loved There Goes the Bride and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to cozy readers. This is a true cozy, one that will charm you till you turn the last page, filled with delights of the village of Carsley.
Profile Image for Ali.
1,242 reviews333 followers
December 19, 2011
Agatha's former husband James is engaged to be married to a beautiful, young woman and Agatha has been kindly invited to the wedding. To take her mind off this, Agatha decides she has fallen for Sylvan, a Frenchman she met at James' engagement party. To distract her still further she decides upon a holiday and flies to Istanbul, where unfortunately she bumps into James and his fiancee not once but twice - convincing him she is stalking them. So when the bride is murdered on her wedding day, naturally Agatha is Suspect Number One - but then matters are turned on their head when the dead bride's mother engages Agatha to take on the case of her murdered daughter! And very soon Agatha's own life is in danger while she tries to solve the mystery of the corpse bride while fighting off (halfheartedly) the advances of a very attractive and determined Frenchman.

I thought this 20th Agatha Raisin a little better than the last installment which I had felt was rushed and padded out. There is however far less humor than in earlier novels and I am still a bit irritated by the newer characters. Agatha's character seems at times contradictory - she is often just a rude and domineering as ever - the Agatha we all love, but we also see her as self doubting and vulnerable, a side we have seen before. I did find this a good bit of escapism for a chilly Sunday yesterday, but I do think the earlier novels were by far the best. There's no great shock in "whodunnit" either - a bit predictable.
Profile Image for Georgiana 1792.
1,765 reviews105 followers
June 24, 2019
Un'indagine nello stile Agatha Raisin, con la (prima) vittima che è la sposa del suo adorato James Lacey, il suo ex-marito. Una storia che parla di immigrazione clandestina internazionale e di varie miserie dell'uomo; della gelosia di Agatha verso la sua ex-neo e poi di nuovo ex assistente, la giovane e bella Toni, e per il suo James, che però dice di aver dimenticato. Per Agatha è dura invecchiare (anche se sembra avere sempre cinquant'anni, ma ormai dovrebbe aver superato la sessantina...), e malgrado sia una donna affermata nel lavoro, prima come PR e poi come investigatrice, non riesce a rassegnarsi a non avere un uomo.
Però, una volta risolto il caso, non ho gradito molto la serie di persecutori che prendono di mira Agatha per portare a termine la vendetta del colpevole. Passi la prima volta, ma poi sembra quasi che la Beaton abbia reiterato il giochetto per allungare il brodo...
Forse non era affatto capace di investigare. Forse ronzava e si agitava come un’ape intrappolata, sbattendo contro il vetro della finestra, finché qualcuno non apriva quella finestra e lei vedeva la luce.
Profile Image for Emily Cullen.
604 reviews9 followers
April 22, 2017
Agatha's ex-husband is getting married again and Agatha begrudgingly attends, but the wedding is not to be as the bride is shot to death. Knowing Agatha's reputation, the bride's parents ask her to investigate. I took a break from reading the Agatha Raisin mystery series and was delighted to plunge back in again! This is the perfect English village mystery and Agatha is a perfectly unlikeable character. She's not all bad actually, and I enjoy this middle-age woman ever in search of love. I'm looking forward to the next book!
Profile Image for El (book.monkey).
320 reviews
March 21, 2017
This was fantastic, it kept me guessing throughout the whole book keeping me interested the whole time, though I did find occasionally that i found Agatha to be a bit of a grumpy old woman but for the most part she was portrayed as what ever 50 year old woman should be like, enthusiastic and energetic.
I do enjoy reading new crime writers because it means I'm not used to the way they write their characters. I do realise I started on the 20th book but I'm not planning on reading the others any time soon. I an glad I picked this up.
Profile Image for Grace.
507 reviews8 followers
May 17, 2013
This was one of the best books in the series that I have read. There was a lot going on and Agatha became more self aware of her feelings. This book seemed to have many sub plots and showed a more vunerable side of the main character. It doesn't matter how aggressive she is, you just can't help liking her.
Profile Image for Connie.
359 reviews
February 5, 2010
I love listening to the Agatha Raisin books but in the latest, There goes the Bride, the reader has changed. I have nothing against in fact I like Penelope Keith but she is not the reader I have come to associate with Agatha Raisin. Only listened to one disk.
600 reviews1 follower
April 27, 2021
I love Agatha and her friends and all her escapades. I love how she falls in love with every man she meets. I love how she pretends to cook. I love her attitude and the way she speaks. These books are great!
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,310 reviews95 followers
December 18, 2016
James plans on remarrying but then murder arrives, with Agatha, of course. Most people just bring a crockpot as a gift.
Profile Image for Rachel.
2,007 reviews66 followers
July 16, 2022
Great Addition

I just love the Agatha Raisin series. Yes, it can be rough around the edges at times, but the character progression is there. Agatha has grown throughout the series, and does deep down have a heart of gold. I also have some sort of soft spot for Charles. Maybe it is his cheekiness, and the fact that he does care for Agatha deep down as well, or maybe it is the wonderful depiction of his Character in the TV series on Acorn, who knows. But I think he is hilarious.

Are the story lines sometimes outlandish and far-fetched? Sure. But that is part of the appeal for me. Something different and something with an almost fantasy-like aspect to it.

I will continue to try to read all the books on the series. I only have a few left, out of order, but it definitely does not matter. Loved it!
Profile Image for Gail.
702 reviews
July 1, 2020
Love this series. Agatha finds herself on the guest list for her ex-husband's wedding to a young, wealthy beauty. Needless to say, her ego is wounded but with all her Carsely friends around her, the afternoon looks like it will be a success...until her ex quietly appeals to her for help escaping his imminent nuptials.
When a fatal bullet halts the wedding, Agatha must solve the case to keep James from being convicted of murder.
Profile Image for Gina.
372 reviews26 followers
September 1, 2018
3.75 stars rounded up. These Agatha books get better and better. Especially with regard to James Lacey. Interesting mystery although it did get a little predictable at the end. But the dating agency follies were quite funny. I just wish she'd quit falling in love after one date! Could there still be hope for an Agatha-Charles match? Stay tuned.....
Profile Image for Kelly Marie Purdy.
352 reviews12 followers
August 22, 2022
A friend sent me one of these books as a gift because she thought I would like them, so I'm gradually trying to read and collect them all. My book club are reading humorous crime novels this month, so I thought one of these would be a good idea.

I found it entertaining and very amusing, even if it is difficult to keep track of all Agatha's suitors.
Profile Image for Evelyn.
707 reviews29 followers
April 16, 2018
I have seen the TV series of Agatha Raisin mysteries which was not bad. I had heard a few comments that the books were better, so I decided to read one. It was OK, but I think I prefer the more vintage or period mysteries. Agatha is an interesting character, but not to my taste.
Profile Image for Rach.
109 reviews9 followers
June 27, 2022
For me, this series is great in two situations in particular:
1. I have fallen into a book slump. (A couple of Agatha Raisins later and I’m loving books again.)
2. I feel stressed or anxious. (Maybe it’s because Agatha makes a mess of everything which makes me feel better about myself - plus, the disasters are always funny.)

To be honest, this series is a bit of joyful, light reading. No, the writing is not particularly profound. Neither are the plots particularly clever, or the characters particularly witty.

Nevertheless, the regular murders in the little village community are oddly comforting, so I can’t help reading the next book… and then the next…

And as far as audiobooks go, Penelope Keith is a top-notch narrator.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 520 reviews

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