Agatha Raisin and the wellspring of death

M. C. Beaton

Book - 1998

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New York : St. Martin's Press 1998.
1st ed
Physical Description
184 p.
Main Author
M. C. Beaton (-)
Review by Booklist Review

In a cottage in the Cotswolds, complete with garden and cats, the fiftysomething, widowed Mrs. Raisin presses on, with all her appetites intact. In this latest installment in an uneven series, Agatha comes out of retirement to take on a public relations assignment: a company wants to bottle the water from the Ancombe spring, which has flowed cheerily from a death's-head spout for generations. When Agatha visits the spring and finds a body there, her interest is piqued considerably. Local feeling is divided between those who welcome the attention the bottled water will bring to town, and those who resent tourists; the rabid local environmentalists make for complications, too. Agatha smokes and drinks and carries on appealingly, worrying about taking on a much younger but clearly smarmy lover: her true character flaw is an obsession with the old flame who lives next door. A definite hit in this hit-and-miss series. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Cotswolds snoop Agatha Raisin (Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist, 1997, etc.), still smarting from her broken engagement to neighbor James Lacey, returns in yet another cozy featuring backbiting provincial villagers. The Ancombe Water Company is trying to negotiate a deal with the parish council to bottle water from a historic village spring, a move that has sharply divided the council. When the body of Robert Struthers, the council chairman who had not yet committed on the issue, is found head-down in the spring, Agatha, who's doing PR for the water company, and James each decide to investigate. Bitterness keeps them apart, and 50-something Agatha is romanced by the much younger Guy Freemont, a company director. Beaton performs deftly, with Agatha pining for James while weighing the pros and cons of village life. Particularly entertaining elements include James's undercover stint in a militant environment group and, in a finale that follows a second murder, the introduction of a new side to Mrs. Bloxby, the vicar's usually plodding wife. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

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 AgathaŽs 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. AgathaŽs p.r. efforts continue unabated, as does her casual affair with Guy Freemont. Then, at the height of the campaignŽs celebratory fête, 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 vicarŽs 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 AgathaŽs devoted fans may want to sit out this one.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.