Agatha Raisin solves the case of the obliging villager whose kindnesses didn’t keep someone from killing her, perhaps for an excellent reason.
When Gloria French first moved to the quiet Cotswold village of Piddlebury, the locals were delighted by her willingness to pitch in by raising money for the church, reading to oldsters and doing many other little jobs nobody wanted to do. So when Gloria’s found dead, poisoned by homemade elderberry wine, a member of the Piddlebury parish council hires Agatha to find the killer. Questions quickly arise. Why did a wealthy woman like Gloria borrow things, insignificant or expensive, from her neighbors and refuse to return them? And did this odd habit provide motive enough for murder? Agatha and one of her assistants, taking up residence in the local pub, soon find that many in the village had cause to hate Gloria. They’re especially interested in the vicar’s wife, who, tired of Gloria’s constant flirting, went to her house on the day of the murder to retrieve a borrowed item. The villagers, claiming that the killer must have been a passing outsider, stick to this story even when one of their own swipes a bottle of wine from Agatha’s car and is found dead. As usual, man-hungry Agatha is attracted to a handsome stranger staying at the pub. She’s livid when her beautiful, clever assistant, Toni, who’s often attracted to unsuitable older men, takes off for Spain with Agatha’s ex-husband. Although the villagers do their best to freeze her out, Agatha isn’t about to let anything stop her from finding a callous killer who’s added her to his list of potential victims.
Fans of this long-running series (Hiss and Hers, 2012, etc.) will feel right at home and find plenty of mirth and mystery.