On another fine summer's day Agatha visits Carsley's allotments where everything looks peaceful and perfect: people of all ages digging in the soil and working hard to grow their own fruit and veg. Agatha feels almost tempted to take on a strip herself . . . but common sense soon prevails. She doesn't really like getting her hands dirty.
She is introduced to three oldtimers who have just taken over a new strip; Harry Perry, Bunty Daventry and Josephine Merriweather are lamenting the neglected condition of the patch. But as Harry starts to shovel through the weeds and grass his spade comes across something hard so he bends down and tries to move the object. And then he starts to yell . . .
The body is that of Peta Currie, a newcomer to the village - but who would want to murder her? Blonde and beautiful she's every local male's favourite. And then Lord Bellingham's son engages Agatha to do some digging of her own and very soon Agatha is thrown into a world of petty feuds, jealousies and disputes over land. It would seem that far from being tiny gardens of Eden, Carsley's allotments are local battlefields where passions - and the bodycount - run high!
Praise for the Agatha Raisin series:
'Sharp, witty, hugely intelligent, unfailingly entertaining, delightfully intolerant and oh so magnificently non-PC, M.C. Beaton has created a national treasure' Anne Robinson
'M.C. Beaton's imperfect heroine is an absolute gem' Publishers Weekly
'The Miss Marple-like Raisin is a refreshing, sensible, wonderfully eccentric, thoroughly likeable heroine' Booklist
Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry—but falls over dead! After her quiche's secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth...
Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner's tag on her toe...
Unlike quite a number of people, Agatha had not given up on Christmas. To have the perfect Christmas had been a childhood dream whilst surviving a rough upbringing in a Birmingham slum. Holly berries glistened, snow fell gently outside, and inside, all was Dickensian jollity. And in her dreams, James Lacey kissed her under the mistletoe, and, like a middle-aged sleeping beauty, she would awake to passion once more....
Agatha Raisin is bored. Her detective agency in the Cotswolds is thriving, but she'll scream if she has to deal with another missing cat or dog. Only two things seem to offer potential excitement: the upcoming Christmas festivities and her ex, James Lacey. This year she is sure that if she invites James to a really splendid, old-fashioned Christmas dinner, their love will rekindle like a warm Yule log.
When a wealthy widow hires Agatha because she's convinced a member of her family is trying to kill her, Agatha is intrigued---especially when the widow drops dead after high tea at the manor house. Who in this rather sterile house, complete with fake family portraits, could have hated the old lady enough to poison her?
Agatha sets out to find the murderer, all the while managing a pretty, teenage trainee who makes her feel old and planning for a picture-perfect Christmas, with James, all the trimmings, and perhaps even snow.