St. Martin's, March 2003, 24.95, 224 pp.
Her husband divorced her because he decided to become a monk. When she writes to the monastery where he is supposed to be praying, the abbot replies that he left and never returned. Now Agatha Raisin realizes that was just his clever way of dumping her. Adding to her despondency is that her next door neighbor only wants to have a fling with her, making her feel even more unloved and lonely.
The Catswold villagers of Carsley adore their new curate Tristan Delon. However that reverence does not stop someone from killing the well-liked curate. With trouble already from missing money taken from the church box, the vicar Mr. Bloxby is very disturbed because he believes people think he killed Tristan out of jealously over the curate's popularity. Agatha's friend Mrs. Bloxby asks her to find out who killed the curate so her husband's name will be cleared. Unable to say no, Agatha agrees to snoop, an action that almost proves fatal.
Reading a new Agatha Raisin book is almost as good as receiving a box of Godiva chocolates (no guilt or sharing with the former). The latest installment in this long running series is enjoyably witty and raunchy as Agatha bulldozes her way into the lives of various suspects. The repartee between John and Agatha is sophisticated yet earthly, making the readers wonder what is going on in that platonic relationship. Nobody will guess who the perpetrator is until M.C. Beaton unveils the identity of the killer leading to a one sitting read requiring handy sweets.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner