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Agatha Raisin & The Murderous Marriage
An Agatha Raisin Mystery #5

by M C Beaton

      Agatha Raisin has wanted to marry confirmed bachelor and neighbour James Lacey since she first saw him, and now it looks as though she is having her wish. But in true Jane Eyre fashion, somebody finds a reason why they cannot be joined as man and wife - she is already married! Jimmy Raisin is even standing there, brought back from his packing case oblivion by peeved Roy Silver. When he is found dead a short time after, it is obvious who the suspects are, but then the police turn their attention elsewhere. It is time to play sleuth again. Though things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better, especially as James now has very cold feet...

These books are a joy, and what makes them so for me in particular is the author's sound knowledge of the area and her splendid satire. Picturesque villages filled with cottages, wealthy retirees, sky-high prices and some hilarious descriptions of eating out have me laughing and nodding. Agatha is on fine form, suspecting James of flirting, rubbing people up the wrong way and trying to look younger, while James is still the tidy and insensitive bachelor. The plot kept me guessing in this slim volunme crammed with humor and incident, possibly the best since the first with its mixture of cozy and satire. This series is at its best when there is more of the latter than the former, and they balance out nicely here. Pour yourself a cup of tea, butter a scone and sink into a tangled tale of health spas, bogus charities, serial killing and village life. I don't think anybody does this sort of thing better.

The Book

Constable (Constable & Robinson)
23 February 2006
Contemporary Crime [London and Cotswolds, UK]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006