Number of pages: 185
Usually with Agatha Raisin books, I find myself having to sit through a chapter or two before the first murder occurs, so it is refreshing in this book when Agatha discovers a corpse more or less on the first few pages.
This is the series' first foray into the world of politics and captalism; the murder victim is the parish council chair, killed before he could give the casting vote on whether to allow a large company to take over running the town's water. Nobody knows which way he was planning to vote, so suspicion falls upon all of the other councillors.
This book also continues the complicated issue of Agatha's love life; first off, there is the strained relationship between her and James Lacey, and in this book the both attempt separately to find out who the killer is; James starts off by joining a protest group who also seem to be likely murder suspects. Agatha also turns into something of a cougar in this book, by starting an affair with a younger man, who happens to be one of the water company's owners.
I enjoyed this book; it was as usual very funny in places, and it threw up a lot of red herrings; also, it was good to see that Agatha's affair with a younger man wasn't just put there to make the book feel steamy; it ended up being important to the plot, in ways that I won't spoil here.
The only real issue I had with this book was that (and I have noticed similar in previous titles) it hasn't aged well, and I noticed a few moments that felt so politically incorrect, I was surprised the publishers allowed them even in 1998, when this was written. There was a particularly crass joke that involved drooling to "pretend to be mentally handicapped"; just goes to show how times have changed, I suppose.
This was also adapted for Sky One several years ago, but I didn't remember anything about it, so I was able to enjoy it all over again.
Next book: Why We Pray (William Philip)