Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Series: Agatha Raisin #33
Publication Date: 10/27/22
Period: Contemporary – Cotswolds
Number of Pages: 256
I’m not sure what adjectives to use to describe Agatha Raisin. She is obsessed with how she looks – hair, makeup, fashion. She definitely has anger management issues. Also, if she were a man, I would describe her as a womanizer – what is the female equivalent of that? She cannot maintain a close ongoing relationship with any man, yet she never quite lets go of them either. I really disliked her in the earlier books and wasn’t going to read any more in the series – but – things change. M.C. Beaton passed away and someone else is now writing the books, so I wondered if I would like her any better. While I didn’t come to like her in this book, she did seem a tad more vulnerable – softer – so she was more tolerable. I enjoyed the mysteries in the book – I think there were three of them and each of them was well presented – but you sort of knew who the culprits were before the case was solved. However, it was nice to see how Agatha and her team solved them – and proved them with evidence.
The first mystery involved thefts at a plant. The thefts were getting bigger and bigger and there seemed to be no clues. Cameras weren’t picking up anyone at the plant when they weren’t supposed to be. What use could anyone have for those particular items? Is it an inside job? How could anyone remove those bulky items without being noticed? Simon Black, a twenty-something with strange looks was assigned to solve the case – can he do it?
The second mystery is to be solved by Patrick Mulligan, a retired police officer. Patrick needs to discover how drugs are getting into a very prestigious girl’s boarding school. How can he solve a drug problem at a school with all female students and almost no male staff? He’ll need someone inside the school. Who can he recruit? Certainly not a sixteen-year-old girl.
The primary mystery begins with a naked young man running down the road as fast as he can go. Yep – a good start, right? The young man, Edward Carstairs, is a member of the Mircrester Naturist Society (nudists), and he has just found a dead body. He manages to stop Agatha and Toni’s car and convince them to help him, but when they arrive at the monolithic stone known as the Lone Warrior, there is no body to be found. Agatha believes the tale the young man tells – but with no body and no signs of any crime, the police can’t/won’t help. Agatha is determined to find out what happened to the body and who murdered whoever it was. That determination drags Agatha and Toni into many strange goings on within the Naturist Society and outside of it. You’ll know who is guilty early on, but you won’t be sure – and you’ll wonder how Agatha will ever manage to prove it. When danger comes to both Agatha and Toni – and more murders are unveiled – it becomes a twisted tale indeed.
Nestled within the investigations are the tales of Agatha’s romantic life. She struggles with relationships with former lovers and husbands – and even brings a couple of new men into her wake. Will she ever make a mature decision about any of these men? Honestly, she reminds me of a fourteen-year-old girl with crush after crush, but no staying power.
In spite of my feelings about Agatha, I gave this book a 4-star rating because the mystery is excellent. Should you require a deep, meaningful romance in your mysteries, you won’t find this book or this series to your liking – but if shallow romance and bed play is good for you, you’ll like both the series and the book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.