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The murder of Gloria French, a widow with an appetite for seduction and a penchant for borrowing but not returning things, sets off a calamitous chain of events in bestseller Beaton's lively 24th Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2012's Hiss and Hers). Keen for a speedy resolution to the case, Jerry Tarrant, head of the parish council in the Cotswolds village of Piddlebury, hires PI Agatha to investigate. In the course of interviewing villagers who might have done in Gloria by giving her a bottle of poisoned elderberry wine, plucky and persistent Agatha annoys someone enough to prompt an attempt on her life. Comic mishaps include an impromptu TV performance in which she tries to cook an omelet. A Miss Marple who enjoys drink, cigarettes, and men, Agatha displays a wit and sharp tongue that will continue to please her many fans. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Associates. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Some people love an English cream tea, in which clotted cream is lavished on crumpets in an artery-threatening way, and some people find cream teas incredibly cloying. Whatever side you're on, you'll recognize the same phenomenon some say scrumptious, some say cloying reading this cozy starring Agatha Raisin, a private eye in the Cotswolds. Beaton just about clobbers her readers over the head with multiple references to the Cotswolds, the neighboring hamlet, the vicar's wife. There's even a lady of the manor, who, we are told, is very much like Maggie Smith as the Dowager Duchess in Downton Abbey. The plot is fairly predictable: a newcomer to a tiny village with a bad habit of borrowing others' belongings is found poisoned after drinking some pilfered wine. Agatha moves from pub to vicar's house to manor house, questioning everyone in sight. Although this is set in today's world, it seems very much like the world of the early twentieth century. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series is extremely popular and, often, good fun. This one seems like a too-calculated cozy except for the clotted-cream crowd.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2010 Booklist