M. C. Beaton
Minotaur, Oct 12 2010, $24.99
Mircester health and safety board officer John "Grudge" Sunday prevents the annual putting up a Christmas tree atop the Carsely church tower by threatening court action against Vicar Alf Bloxby. This tradition has been part of the holiday season for years in Cotswolds. Two angry groups (Our Ladies Society and Odley Cruessis Society) meet to decide what to do when wealthy fuming Miriam Courtney publicly states what many are feeling when she proclaims she wants to kill the odious Grudge.
When someone stabs Grudge to death near the meetings of two ladies’ groups, the police look closely at Courtney, as she threatened the victim. Distrusting the cops to look for any other suspect though so many had grudges against the dead inspector, Courtney hires private investigator Agatha Raisin to prove her innocence. As Raisin and her junior sleuth Toni Gilmour make inquires, an unknown adversary bashes in their client’s head.
Agatha Raisin is even more cantankerous than usual as her Christmas holiday to flee tradition by visiting Porto Vechhio in Corsica proves so boring, she fled for home with a sore throat that made her even more ill mannered. Soon afterward, the middle aged sleuth works a murder mystery for a client who becomes the second victim. Readers will enjoy the case and how over her ex husband she is, but Raisin’s love life remains a mess. This is a superb entry in a great British investigative series (see There Goes the Bride) as no one tames the shrew.