Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death

M. C. Beaton, Author
M. C. Beaton, Author St. Martin's Press $21.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-18523-7
Reviewed on: 08/03/1998
Release date: 08/01/1998
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.)
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