When we left Agatha Raisin last, she was bald, shampooed with a depilatory by a murderous hairdresser. Her vanities and insecurities won’t allow her to stay in her home village while it grows back in, lest her handsome neighbour James Lacey should see her. So she flees to Wyckhadden, a seaside resort, holes up in a hotel and waits for her hair to return. When it fails to do so, some permanent residents of the hotel suggest she visit the local witch for a potion. Agatha does so and can you guess what happens next?
Yes, the witch turns up dead and through some ridiculous contrivances, Agatha is a suspect and thus remains in Wyckhadden. There, she tries to befriend the elderly people who live year round in the hotel, has a romantic liaison with the investigating officer of the murder and generally blunders about the place, interfering in everyone’s lives and trying to solve the murder.
There’s a slight improvement in the writing (the word “truculent” only appears once), but the characterisation and plotting is as flat as ever. There isn’t anything inspired in the investigating of the murder and once again the culprit is revealed out of nowhere, almost on whim. The romantic liaison and its resolution are lazy to an almost embarrassing degree. I’m hopeful that as the series continues (and continues) to progress, Agatha might actually solve a murder by intuition and investigative skills, rather than lucky guesses and stereotypical thinking (the motive for murder isn’t ALWAYS blackmail). I only have two more Raisins to read (so you can relax, Cannonballers, the end is in sight) until they’re reduced in price again. There’s no way I’d pay good money for these books. But for 99p a time, I’ll take my chances.