My Halloween present came a little bit early: Agatha Raisin & the Haunted House.

Courtesy of Acorn TV

Recently I was invited to screen the first episode of the upcoming third series of Agatha Raisin, and it made me so happy.

Just a few words about me and Agatha: When I saw the first few episodes of the first season, my actual thoughts were, “Yeah, I can take or leave that” and “Wow, these are really cheesy/hastily wrapped up mysteries.”

But then, somewhere around episode four or five…I fell in love. Unreasonable, addicted love, that meant I planted myself in front of PBS and the television whenever it aired (I’m one of the very few people in my generation who still kind of enjoys appointment TV), and everything else got ignored, even putting children to bed on time.

Honestly? The mysteries stayed cheesy and since each episode was about forty-five minutes long, the actual solving of the mysteries was always a somewhat rushed affair. But I didn’t really care anymore. I began to like Agatha, high fashion and high heels and all, and I particularly liked Agatha as played by Ashley Jensen (one of my all -time favorite Scottish actors, and also an underrated gem in Sharon Horgan’s series Catastrophe).

And I liked the supporting cast too. I enjoyed Katy Wix as Agatha’s housekeeper/fellow sleuth Gemma Simpson, and I definitely LOVED Mathew Horne (he of Gavin & Stacey fame) as Agatha’s former colleague/fellow sleuth Roy Silver. And of course she’s Agatha Raisin, everything she does is over the top, so she’s got two love interests: Jamie Glover as the somewhat strong-but-silent James Lacey, and Jason Merrells as the incorrigible Sir Charles Fraith.

In the second season, there were fewer episodes, but they were longer, and there was more Sir Charles Fraith in them (even if he was being a rogue) so I was quite happy with that season as well. Which brings us up to now, and my early Halloween present!

Acorn TV is producing the third series of Agatha Raisin, and the first episode, Agatha Raisin & the Haunted House, will be available on October 28. I won’t tell you the story–at least part of the fun of the series is seeing what ridiculous turn the plot can take next–but I will tell you that Agatha has officially started her own detective agency. And what better way to advertise it and her services than to solve the mystery of what’s happening at a haunted house just down the road?

Complete with historical re-enactors busily engaged in re-enacting a famous local battle, Agatha and James exploring an honest-to-goodness secret passage, and other story ridiculousnesses (Agatha seems to be getting ever louder when she’s supposed to be sneaking quietly around crime scenes and possible crime scenes), the story is not really the story. But the great news is that Ashley Jensen is at the top of her comic form, Mathew Horne is back as Roy Silver, and even stoic James Lacey (who appears to be winning the battle for Agatha’s affections) is starting to grow on me a little bit. Sadly, Katy Wix as Gemma is not in this episode (perhaps she will not be in the third series?) but she has been replaced (kind of) by her cousin Toni Gilmour (played by Jodie Tyack), who actually does a nice job filling Gemma’s very big shoes. Weirdly, the writers seem to have DC Bill Wong (Matt McCooey) falling for Toni, which is okay, but…well, a little soon. I just really miss Gemma.

But overall? A romp in the best tradition of the word “romp.” Do consider dropping everything on October 28 to watch Agatha Raisin & The Haunted House exclusively on Acorn TV, and if you don’t have Acorn TV, do drop everything now and seriously consider getting it.

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