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by M. C. Beaton
St Martin's Minotaur, October 2003
246 pages
ISBN: 0312207697

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Agatha Raisin returns to her village of Carsely in Cotswold, England, after a public relations job in London, only to find lots of rain and boredom. All she can think about is her ex-husband James, the rain, and that therešs foot-and-mouth disease thatšs killing cows. But things start to look a little brighter when she finds out that the handsome Paul Chatterton has moved into the cottage next door.

Paul had heard that Agatha helped get to the bottom of some mysteries in Cotswold and asks her to help him investigate the mystery of a hunted house hešs heard rumors about. Having nothing much else to do (and Paul does have those wonderful dark eyes) Agatha agrees to help.

The two head to the haunted house owned by elderly Mrs. Witherspoon. Mrs. Witherspoon is a very tall and healthy looking woman, but shešs far from friendly. She allows Paul and Agatha to stay a night in the house so they can get to hear the whisperings and noises and to see the ghostly mist that floats into the rooms.

That night, when the mist appears, Paul asks Agatha to go upstairs to make sure Mrs. Witherspoon is safe. As she reaches the top of the stairs Agatha sees some sort of vision. It frightens her so that she runs screaming from the house.

A few days later Mrs. Witherspoon is found dead. The police soon determine that she was murdered. Paul and Agatha feel that since they knew the woman personally, they decide that they should solve the crime themselves ­ with or without the approval of the police.

AGATHA RAISIN AND THE HAUNTED HOUSE is the fourteenth book in M.C. Beatonšs hilarious series. Nothing much has changed from the very first Agatha Raisin cozy, thank goodness. Agatha still misses her old job in London and shešs still looking and dreaming of finding a perfect husband. Even though Agathašs age is never really stated, we do know that she is middle-aged and going through the same problems that any 50 some-odd year old woman goes through. Agatha is still a curt, outspoken lady and she still loves her cats. Reading an Agatha Raisin cozy is like going home to very a familiar, friendly neighborhood.

Once again we see all the residents of Carsely: Detective Sergeant Bill Wong, Mrs. Bloxby the vicaršs wife, and all the ladies from the Church Society.

An Agatha Raisin book is not to be read if youšre looking for a hard edged mystery. Itšs best read for fun and entertainment. M.C. Beaton has created a wonderful community and filled it with lovable characters who stay in your mind long after youšve finished the story. All the Agatha Raisin mysteries are usually more or less the same and though some might say that Agatha should be put out to pasture, I would be despondent if this happens. I read these cozies to meet the inhabitants of this little village in the English countryside, and to see what my old friend Agatha is up to nowadays.

If youšre a fan of a good cozy, give Agatha Raisin a try. If youšre already a fan of the series AGATHA RAISIN AND THE HAUNTED HOUSE will not disappoint you. Itšs as full of laughs as the previous thirteen books and when youšre done with this one, I promise, you wonšt be able to wait for number fifteen to come along.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, October 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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