That I love M. C. Beaton's "Agatha Raisin" series is no secret to anyone who has been reading my blog for a while, and so I was looking forward to the latest book (# 24) in the series, "Something Borrowed, Someone Dead".
For some reason, which I can't really put my finger on, I seem to remember not having enjoyed "Hiss and Hers" (# 23 in the series) quite as much as most of the others, but re-reading my review from May of this year, I can't find any hint to that. Therefore, I guess my memory does not serve me right in this case.
And anyway - "Something Borrowed" is one I really enjoyed.
Agatha (who, more than 20 "years" after her first adventure, if you were to draw a timeline by the stories, is still described as being in her mid-fifties) seems to have learned a lesson or two from her previous adventures.
This time, she finds a love interest pretty soon into the story, but does not pursue the man as stubbornly as she has been famous for in the past. Also, she refrains from interfering with her youngest employee's private life, even though she thinks 19-year-old, pretty, blond, long-legged Toni is about to make a huge mistake.
Instead, she really does focus on the investigation of two murders that have taken place in a village much different from all the other Cotswolds villages she has come to be familiar with. This one, unlike the rest, has no newcomers and no tourists. Everyone's families have been living in the place for ages, everyone knows everyone else (which is, of course, not quite true, as Agatha soon finds out), and when there really is a newcomer, that lady gets poisoned with elderberry wine.
One of the parish councillors enlists Agatha's detective agency for help, because the close-knit community is shaken by the murder; everyone suspects everyone else, and it turns out that a lot of people had reason for disliking the newcomer - but not enough to warrant murder.
In her usual rather blunt manner, Agatha goes about investigating in the picturesque village. A second murder follows, and it is obvious that the intended victim was Agatha; sheer coincidence made her escape.
Her old friends rally round to help - ex-husband James, long-standing friend Sir Charles, the vicar's wife, Mrs. Bloxby, even Roy Silver puts in an appearance.
There are a few surprises (at least there were for me), not just the solution of the murders. The pace is fast where it does no harm but detailed enough for the mental cinema to play along while you read.
When I go to lunch at my Mum's today, I'll pass the book to her. She ordered it and let me read it first - thank you, Mum!