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by M.C. Beaton
Minotaur, December 2019
256 pages
ISBN: 1250157722

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Agatha Raisin, popular and stalwart protagonist of M. C. Beaton's long mystery series (this is the 30th episode), tends to be pretty sure of herself and of her abilities to uncover and solve crimes. Therefore, when driving out in the countryside she discovers a severed leg, she promptly notifies the police and remains at the scene to answer their questions as only she can. She is mortified to learn from the officers arrived at the site that what she has discovered is not human, not indeed ever alive it's a fake leg that she only thought was the leg of dumpy Mrs. Dimwiddy, obstacle and factotum at the factory whose business Agatha has been hired by its wealthy owner to investigate as probable victims of industrial spies.

When the real body of Mrs. Dimwiddy turns up, definitely murdered, Agatha rightly concludes that nothing is as it seems and she takes the bit in her teeth and plows into the fray.

What isn't as it seems, it turns out, is not confined to espionage and murder. Agatha's own love interest, Sir Charles Fraith as in interest, no attachment implied gets himself engaged to a social climbing daughter of a social climbing and money-heavy family (well, he always needs the money) and tries to keep it secret from Agatha as long as possible and Agatha has a bit of a psychological slump.

Who wouldn't?

But not for long. These Brits are nothing if not brittle and that's part of the fun. They have little in the way of commitment except to whatever it is that they picture themselves having, but the way they jockey around each other for advantage is definitely amusing. And the mysteries get solved in their own typical cozy ways, but with panache.

I am new to Agatha and to author M. C. Beaton but I believe that this 30th installment will be a great fit for their fans and another delightful treat.

Diana Borse is retired from teaching English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and savoring the chance to read as much as she always wanted to.

Reviewed by Diana Borse, December 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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