During the miserable weather in March, I decided to indulge in a comforting re-read of Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M C Beaton; the third book in Beaton’s long-running, cosy-crime series. (If you are unfamiliar with this author and series you may instead want to check out my thoughts on the first book: Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death).
Our smart dressing, retired-PR executive Agatha Raisin returns from holiday to discover to her horror, that she has a new rival for the affections of her handsome neighbour, James Lacey: Mary Fortune. Mary is an attractive and glamorous divorcee, who has the whole village of Carsely in a spin over her pristine garden, delicious baking and charming conversation – how can the stocky, sharp Agatha ever compete? Then Mary is discovered murdered and macabrely planted head first in her own plant pot! Which sets Agatha off on another meddlesome, amateur investigation, where she reveals Mary was not as perfect or as well loved as she seemed.
To be fair Agatha isn’t an instantly likeable character either, although she is very amusing! As the former boss of a highly successfully PR company, Agatha became sharp, bossy, cajoling and completely work focused. Once she took early retirement and settled in the quiet, picturesque village of Carsely her softer side has started to emerge, as she experiences the kindness and friendship of the vicar’s lovely wife Mrs Bloxby and the funny Detective Constable Wong. In fact it is revealed in this horticultural mystery just how popular Agatha has now become with all the villagers, but Agatha (bless her) is still oblivious!
In this re-read, it was again an absolute pleasure to return to the charming village of Carsely; spend time with it’s eclectic mix of inhabitants and follow Agatha for another eccentric, bumbling investigation. I love a good murder mystery however I don’t always want all that gore and gritty realism, which is when a cosy-crime like this is perfect. As I said before, I picked this up during a particularly wet and miserable spell of weather, and it was so comforting to tuck myself in bed with this and a mug of relaxing chamomile tea.
Overall, Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener was another quick, fun and comforting re-read. I hope to get round to a re-read of Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley soon. Good read.
Have you read this? Have you read any cosy-crime recently?