Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Constable (Constable & Robinson)
Release Date: September 2003
ISBN: 1841197750
Format Reviewed: Hardback
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Genre:   Contemporary Crime [Cotswolds, UK]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde
Reviewer Notes:  

Agatha Raisin & The Potted Gardener
By M C Beaton

     Agatha 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.