Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Guest Review: Beating About the Bush by M. C. Beaton


She won’t let any moss grow under her feet…

When private detective Agatha Raisin comes across a severed leg in a roadside hedge, it looks like she is about to become involved in a particularly gruesome murder. Looks, however, can be deceiving, as Agatha discovers when she is employed to investigate a case of industrial espionage at a factory where nothing is quite what it seems.

The factory mystery soon turns to murder and a bad-tempered donkey turns Agatha into a national celebrity, before bringing her ridicule and shame. To add to her woes, Agatha finds herself grappling with growing feelings for her friend and occasional lover, Sir Charles Fraith. Then, as a possible solution to the factory murder unfolds, her own life is thrown into deadly peril. Will Agatha get her man at last? Or will the killer get her first?




Review: This is the 33rd, and latest, book in the Agatha Raisin series from M. C. Beaton. The series features the exploits of Agatha, a PR executive turned private detective, aided by her colleagues and acquaintances. Each book can be read without first reading any of the others. Most are set in the vicinity of Agatha’s home in a small Cotswolds village.

In this story, Agatha is hired to look into problems at a local factory producing batteries for electric cars. However, it soon becomes apparent that other shady dealings are going on at the factory when a member of staff is found dead under suspicious circumstances. Agatha’s investigations soon lead her into danger, with her salvation coming from a most unusual ally in the shape of a rather bad-tempered donkey. However, with a murderer still on the loose, is Agatha completely out of the woods?

I have read several books in this series, and, like those, have found this an entertaining and easy read. Agatha Raisin is an often amusing character, with an interesting circle of loyal friends who crop up once again in this book. This was an intriguing case; I had no idea where it was going to lead and it kept my interest to the end. I loved the introduction of the donkey who was so choosy with its affections. I can recommend this and other books in this series to readers who enjoy cosy crime. It is sad that the author died soon after this book was published; I shall miss her stories about Agatha and also the fictional Scottish police officer, Hamish Macbeth.


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