Agatha Raisin grudgingly agrees to help publicize a church fete for Vicar Arthur Chance, only to discover that what’s really needed are her detective skills.
Despite a cold reception from the vicar’s wife, Agatha is happier about helping with the celebration after she meets handsome architect George Selby. It’s not her fault that someone laces the jam at a tasting contest with LSD and a parishioner leaps to her death. When the vicar hires Agatha’s agency to find the villain, she relies for help on her staff: Phil Marshall, Patrick Mulligan and especially her newest hire, bright young Toni Gilmour (Kissing Christmas Goodbye, 2007). Ever susceptible to a handsome face, especially since her breakup with long-running suitor James Lacey, Agatha finds it hard to suspect Selby even after it’s suggested that his late wife’s tumble down the stairs was no accident. The diverse village population includes a number of promising suspects, but none of them quite fills the bill. Agatha blows hot and cold with Selby—and with Toni, whose youth, good looks and success make her jealous. Shrugging off the village’s collective cold shoulder, Agatha continues to dig for the truth, no matter how unpalatable.
Agatha remains as resolutely unlovable as ever. Perhaps that makes her believable as a person, if not as a crime solver.