This would have gotten 3 stars except for the terrible twist at the end. It's a 2.5 read for me. Mom handed me a bunch of Agatha Raisin books and with all due respect to her fans (and I know I'm in a minority here) I'm not that much of a fan. I had read some yonks ago but never picked up the series. I mentioned to Mom that while the mystery itself is interesting, I don't like Agatha. She's judgmental, narcissistic and a control freak. Mom says 'yes she is. She doesn't have too many redeeming qualities.' Leaving off for a moment as to why Mom's reading a series where she thinks that of the sleuth, let me say this would have gone down a lot easier if Agatha wasn't forever slamming doors, pouting, glaring, sulking and being waspish (all terms lifted directly from the text).
In this one, everyone in the village including Agatha has been taken in by the beautiful curate, Tristan Delon but soon after a dinner with the man, where he hits her up to invest with him, Agatha learns he's been killed and the local vicar is a suspect. Along with mystery writer, John Armitage, the prickly Agatha tries to find out who killed the scamming, pretty man. His grifting ways go from London to the Cotswolds with no shortage of women, usually middle aged and with money, still either in 'love' with him or furious because they know they were scammed. Tristan wasn't above pretending to be gay and scamming men too.
Even though Agatha is repeatedly warned off the case, she keeps going even as the bodies start stacking up. Like I said, I liked the mystery up until the end but overall I'm not sure I'm going to read the rest of the books mom handed me in this series. One amateur detective trope I do not like is where the amateur is at odds with the police and this relies on that. It makes no sense that they wouldn't charge her with interfering with police business like they keep threatening to.
And now some things that REALLY bothered me about this one. Consider anything below this a spoiler.
1. Agatha does some utterly stupid things. For one she breaks into someone's house in the middle of the night while the person is there. She gets caught, kind of. She hides in a suit of armor in the basement. I'm not even saying more. Imagine that scenario. I'm shocked it wasn't knocked out by an editor
2. For that matter, I kept thinking this homemade wine found in a victim's house was going to be drugged because she kept going on and on at how unusually strong it was. one or two drinks and people were blitzed. And yet they take the wine and sell it at a church function. Does that sound safe? One would think Agatha would know better.
3. The twist at the end was just really bad. The killer set up someone to take the fall and it worked. Instead of letting it lie, the killer comes to Agatha's house and brags about how stupid and smug she is and that's why the killer HAS to tell her how she got the wrong answer and hahahaha 'I did it and you'll never prove it.' Who in their right mind would DO this? You got away with it and you come to confess just to rub her nose in it? And she just happens to have a recorder running at the time? That was just too much for me. One star gone just for that stupid move.
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