Gloria French was a jolly widow. When she first moved from London to the charming Cotswolds hills, she was heartily welcomed. She seemed a do-gooder par excellence. But she had a nasty habit of borrowing things and not giving them back. So it's quite the shock when she is found dead, murdered by a poisoned bottle of elderberry wine. Afraid the murder will be a blight on the small town, Parish councillor, Jerry Tarrant, hires private detective Agatha Raisin to track down the murderer.
Something Borrowed, Someone Dead
Beaton, M.C (2013). [Genre: Cozy Mystery]
Thank you to Minotaur Books for providing an advanced reader copy of this title. All opinions are my own.
I discovered Agatha Raisin last year and fell in love with the man-eating, chain-smoking, yet surprisingly vulnerable sleuth. She's a modern Miss Marple, so I was excited to read Something Borrowed, Someone Dead. The 24th Agatha Raisin mystery sees Agatha try to solve a murder in a neighbouring village, while the village's inhabitants rapidly close ranks around her.
I felt the pacing was a little off in this installment. We're thrown into the murder very quickly, without the normal introduction into what is going on in the life of Agatha and her detective agency. Although by the 24th installment some might feel that it was getting repetitive, I missed being re-introduced to the characters. Near the end of the novel the story also skips over a year very quickly. This has happened in previous installments, but because of the rapid pacing at the start felt more off than usual.
Without bringing in spoilers, the story also wasn't rounded off very well. The murder was tied up nice and logically, but then another factor was brought in that extended the book several chapters, somewhat unecessarily and in a way that felt out of tone.
On the other hand. . . .it's Agatha. The great thing about M.C Beaton's series is that her heroine (and the supporting characters) doesn't change. And everything that you love about the series is definitely here, from Agatha's man-obsessions to Toni's problems with older men (which take a surprising twist in Something Borrowed, Someone Dead). It's steady, well-written and the murder doesn't stop us getting back to the characters we love, or vice versa. Cozy mystery at its absolute best.
Overall, 3.5/5 Stars. It's far from the best of Agatha Raisin, but it's still some of the best of the genre.
Something Borrowed, Someone Dead is released September 17th