The English Cotswolds is a magical place. Quaint villages, old churches, lovely gardens fill the area. What you probably wouldn’t connect with this tranquil setting is murder. But in M.C. Beaton’s newest Agatha Raisin mystery, murder is found in abundance.
Beaton, who also is the author of the Hamish Macbeth mysteries, has written more than twenty Agatha Raisin mysteries. Agatha runs a detective agency in village of Carsely. She has a small staff, and they work on everything from solving murders to following straying spouses.
Agatha is divorced, her ex-husband is her next-door neighbor. She is in her early fifties and is quite glamorous. Doesn’t leave the house without full makeup and very high heels.
When she finds that a local therapist Jill Davent has hired a detective to investigate her, she tells her to “Leave me alone, or I’ll kill you!” And, of course, the next thing we know is that Jill’s body has been found. This is only the first murder, which is followed by at least five more–actually, I lost count.
This is my first Agatha Raisin mystery. Although Beaton does her best to fill in Agatha’s past history, it is hard to keep track of all the characters. It seems as soon as Agatha meets a new character they are murdered.
I have enjoyed Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series,but found that “Dishing the Dirt” is filled with too many murders and not enough character development. Perhaps it is best to begin with some of the earlier novels in the series to get a fully appreciate of all the characters. Obviously, there is another Agatha Raisin mystery in the pipeline because on the last page of “Dishing the Dirt” the reader is clued into the fact that Agatha was wrong to not investigate a key clue in the Davent murder case. That clue with lead to yet another murder. Stay tuned.