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Agatha Raisin and Love, Lies and Liquor
Agatha Raisin series #17

by M C Beaton

      When Agathaís ex James Lacey turns up on her doorstep and asks her to come away with him on vacation she thinks all her birthdays have come at once. But Jamesís fond memories of childhood summers spent at The Palace Hotel in Snoth-on-Sea are testament to the old saying that one can never go back, and even he is horrified at the dump it has become. On their first night there they get into a violent argument with a honeymooning couple and their families, and the next morning one of them has been found murdered. Priding herself on her skills as a private detective, Agatha sets out to discover whodunit.

As usual, Ms Beaton realized that it was time to give her characters a break from Carsely and the Cotswolds, and we are treated to a hilarious description of a once popular seaside resort. Topical humor is one of this seriesí main strengths, and here there are descriptions of a place where coastal erosion has been allowed to run riot, the hotel from hell and even the woes of retiring to rural France. Most of the cast of characters are in force too: crusty bachelor James, carefree and catlike Charles, Roy in his fancy-dress style of attire, caring Mrs Bloxby, savvy young Harry and gloomy Patrick. Having Agatha run a detective agency gives her realistic reasons to be plunged into crime solving, but despite the words on the reverse of the book she does not solve the case from a prison cell. Itís a teasing tale, with plenty of suspects and a fishery full of red herrings and leaves us satisfied with the conclusion, but eager for more. Satire and cozy crime have never been such excellent bedfellows.

The Book

Constable (Constable & Robinson)
1 March 2007
Contemporary Crime - Sussex, UK
More at US|| UK
NOTE: The US version is a different edition (US paperback will be released in Aug 07)

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2007
© 2006