Constable (Constable & Robinson)
Date: September 2003
it at Amazon US
Contemporary Crime [Cotswolds, UK]
Rachel A Hyde
Raisin & The Potted Gardener
By M C Beaton
Raisin, that doughty PR executive and would-be villager has returned
from her vacation to find her handsome neighbor in the arms of attractive
newcomer Mary Fortune. She seems good at everything and is divorced
to boot, so Agatha has her work cut out to try and outdo her. There
is something amiss with this lady, and when a series of assaults
on the villagers' gardens occurs fingers all point in her direction.
When she is murdered in a bizarre way, it is up to Agatha to turn
sleuth once more and find out whodunit. If only it were that simple.
There are a lot of cozy mysteries
around, but this one goes on further and spices up the dish with
a healthy dollop of satire. This series is at its hilarious best
when there is more satire than cozy and I, for one, applaud the
sheer realism of Beaton's portrait of a fifty-something businesswoman
with no friends or family trying to reinvent herself as a villager.
By turns, she is a dogged sleuth, frantic flirt and lonely single
woman who steals the show every page. Although by now the villagers
seem to have accepted her more than they would have in real life,
there are enough occasions when she is still an outsider. There
is a lot packed into this slim volume - laugh-out-loud humor, wicked
satire, a teasing plot to solve and a well-rounded (in more ways
than one) protagonist. Well done, Constable, for letting UK readers
enjoy this delightful series.