Agatha Raisin and the Love From Hell

by M. C. Beaton

St. Martin's Minotaur, December 2001.
Hardcover, 301 pages.
ISBN: 0312207662

Agatha Raisin and the Love From Hell by M. C. Beaton Agatha Raisin, that high-powered executive who has retired to the joys of village life in the Cotswolds, has finally realized her life's dream: she is married to longtime obsession, James Lacey. But wedded bliss is not to be. James appears to be having an affair with his ex-girlfriend, Melissa. After a public confrontation (which the entire town knows about), James disappears, leaving only a bloodstain behind to indicate that he was the victim of foul play. Agatha is the prime suspect, and she and her fickle ex-lover Sir Charles Fraith set out to find James and clear Agatha's name. Of course, complications ensue, especially when the despised Melissa turns up murdered.

Agatha Raisin's latest adventure is the best yet. The horrid James gets his comeuppance in this delightful installment of the popular cozy series. The plot has a slightly madcap feel to it, and the improbable happenings add just the right touch of oddness which makes this series so addicting. Agatha is an acquired taste: she's pushy, has zero empathy for the feelings of others and tramples on social conventions with ease in her inappropriate-for-the-country high heels. But she also has a big heart and her neurotic insecurities make for hilarious reading. We learn quite a bit more about Sir Charles' background, which has the effect of making him more likeable. Altogether, a delightful romp.

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