Number of pages: 256
The third Agatha Raisin novel opens with Agatha joining the horticultural society and entering a best garden competition. At the same time, she makes friends with a newcomer called Mary Fortune, who ends up having a fling with Agatha's on-off love interest, James Lacey. Mary is a character who is described vividly, and seems like someone that would provoke others - particularly, as she also seems to be a racist (although possibly the name she calls Inspector Bill Wong matybe was a little less shocking in 1994 when this was written). Also, several gardens in the village end up getting vandalised.
This is all, of course, leading up to a murder, although this doesn't happen until almost half way through the novel, when Agatha and James find Mary dead, and planted head-first in a plant pot. While this is a very comic image, I noticed that this book seemed to have less comic relief than the previous books, as well as having a particularly dark moment near to the end.
This story is yet another standard murder mystery, mostly taken up by Agatha and James speaking to residents and finding out that several people hated Mary, and think she got what she deserved. Overall, this was enjoyable enough, but hardly a classic. My favourite moment was Agatha finding out that she was popular in the village, which surprised her as much as it surprised me, mostly because previous titles appeared to indicate that she got on everyone's nerves (one character in this book calls her "the village nosey parker" at one point.
Still, M.C. Beaton has written several Agatha Raisin novels and I want to keep reading them, probably because it has a central character that I find very entertaining.
Next book: True Friendship by Vaughan Roberts