In September, I continued my comforting R.I.P. XIV reading with Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death by M. C. Beaton, the seventh book in Beaton’s long-running, cosy-crime series. While each book is a self-contained mystery, there is the continuing character arc for Agatha running through them all, therefore I recommend checking out the first book, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, if you’re unfamiliar with the series.
Our smart dressing, retired-PR executive Agatha Raisin, returns to her comfortable cottage, little cats and good friends in the sleepy Cotswold village of Carsely, heartsore after a disastrous trip to reunite with her former fiancée, James Lacey in North Cyprus. However Agatha has barely settled back into normal life, when she discovers the body of local councillor, Robert Struthers, who was embrangled in a heated argument with a new mineral-water company over the use of the neighbouring village of Ancombe’s ancient spring. With the back of his head bashed in there is no question this is murder and an investigation is just what Agatha needs.
It was really good to see Agatha back in her usual setting; to see her feeling more herself and for her to be back with her old friends: the lovely vicar’s wife, Mrs Bloxby and the young, cheerful Detective Sergeant Wong. This book also gives Agatha the chance to flex her business muscles again, as she takes on a freelance PR role with the water company at the centre of the current scandal. Putting her centre stage to escalating events and in a prime situation to ask questions. The role also brought the added bonus of a young, dashing suitor for Agatha, which was good, even if just to see how it amusingly had James Lacey twitching his curtains.
Agatha’s investigation into the murder is as bumbling and amateurish as usual, as she flies head first into things; speaks before she thinks and riles up the suspects. Highly entertaining for us, but dangerous for our Agatha. Particularly, as the village of Ancombe turns out to be a hotbed of thoroughly unlikeable people – those for and opposed to the water company are as equally horrible, and really it felt like any one of them could of done it. Plus there are the ambitious, Freemont brothers, owners of the new mineral-water company, who aren’t going to let a little murder get in the way of profits. So plenty of suspects to keep us guessing.
Overall, I thought Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death was another quick, fun, cosy-crime fiction – a perfect grab a mug of tea, curl up and simply enjoy kind of books. This is now one of my go-to-series for comfort. Next up I have Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham. Good read.
I’d love to hear your thoughts: Have you read this? What do you think? Have you read any of the other Agatha Raisin books?