A sillier than usual chapter in the life of Agatha Raisin (Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist
, 1997, etc.), now retired from her public-relations job and living in the Cotswolds village of Carsely. The appearance of Agatha's husband (since deceased) just as she was to marry James Lacy, her icy neighbor and partner in sleuthdom, has soured that relationship, and Agatha, now bored and lonely, accepts a p.r. job with the Ancombe Water Company, run by brothers Peter and Guy Freemont. The two plan to sell mineral water from a spring in Ancombe, not far from Carsely, on land owned by Robina Toynbee. The villagers are bitterly divided on the idea, even more so after Agatha discovers the body of Robert Struthers, chairman and deciding vote of the Ancombe Parish Council, killed by a blow to the head. Agatha's p.r. efforts continue unabated, as does her casual affair with Guy Freemont. Then, at the height of the campaign's celebratory fàte, Robina, frightened by threatening letters and about to renege on her leasing arrangement, is also found murdered. Agatha and James get together at last to quiz the villagers and report, as usual, to Detective Bill Wong, eventually putting him on the right track but never recovering that old romantic feeling. Fond feelings are in short supply all round, with Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar's wife, the least obnoxious female (or male, for that matter) in residence. The unexplained rancor of all the others makes as much sense as the addled plot or the contrived clues that end it all. Even Agatha's devoted fans may want to sit out this one.
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