St. Martin's, Nov 2004, 22.95, 224 pp.
After years of solving homicides for the fun of it, Agatha Raisin opens up her own detective agency in Mirceaster, England following being mugged while vacationing in France. She hires her new neighbor Emma Coffrey to serve as her secretary. Business is booming as people hire Agatha to get evidence in divorce cases and finding missing people and pets.
Wealthy socialite Mrs. Laggat-Brown hires Agatha to uncover who threatened her daughter Cassandra if she marries her fiancÚ Jason Peterson. On the night of the engagement party, someone with a gun aims it at either the mother or daughter. The ex-husband of her client, who served time for fraud, arrives to offer comfort and flirts with Agatha. Meanwhile Emma has a crush on Agatha's friend Sir Charles and decides to poison her boss to get her out of the way. A killer enters Agatha's abode while she is away and drinks the poisoned coffee that Emma prepared for Agatha, and dies. Emma is arrested and the dead murderer turns out to have IRA connections. Agatha still has to solve who wanted Mrs. Laggat-Brown, her daughter, and Agatha dead.
Agatha remains crude and rude even to clients, but also retains that vulnerability that endears her to readers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner