Saturday, January 22, 2011

When will busy Agatha slow down?

Oh Agatha!  Everyone's favorite short-tempered private detective is back again in M.C. Beaton's latest Agatha Raisin novel Busy Body.  As usual, the bodies pile up along with Agatha's man-troubles.

In this adventure, the lives of the villagers in Odley Cruesis have been disrupted by an overly enthusiastic Health and Safety Board officer, John Sunday.  He has put a stop to nearly everything (from putting up Christmas decorations to the selling of homemade craft items) due to "safety concerns."  He's managed to offend just about everyone, so when he turns up murdered (outside a gathering of most of the villagers), there's no shortage of suspects. 

Agatha is brought into the case when one of the suspects, Miriam Courtney, hires her to find the real killer.  Things go from bad to worse when Ms. Courtney is murdered, too.  As usual, it's up to Agatha to sort out the truth, while dodging threats to her own safety and engaging in various romantic entanglements.  All of her friends are back, too, including her assistant Toni, her friend policeman Bill Wong, former employee Roy Silver, sometime lover Sir Charles Fraith, and patient confidant Mrs. Bloxby.

I do love reading about Agatha's adventures, but I must say there were several things that were odd in this book.  ** Possible Spoiler Alert Ahead **  Such as the insistence that "identical twins" could be of different genders and be indistinguishable when cross-dressing.  Huh?  I guess that's a new wrinkle, but it doesn't seem to be at all possible.  There are also people who are attacked for "knowing too much" who know and do much less than Agatha herself.  Someone close to her also asks for a job, an idea she dismisses immediately, but then a bit later she's advertising for a new assistant.  Hmm . . .

All in all, though, with a bit of the old suspension of disbelief, this book is a welcome visit to Agatha and her old friends.

Final Verdict for Busy Body Three Gherkins, for some plot holes, but a generally enjoyable visit to Carsley


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