cover image The Perfect Paragon

The Perfect Paragon

M. C. Beaton. Minotaur Books, $22.95 (234pp) ISBN 978-0-312-30448-5

Welcome back to Carsely, the charming Cotswolds village that's home to the 16th Agatha Raisin mystery. (If you've missed the first 15, just imagine a Barbara Pym novel with murder, mayhem and the sexual longings of a 50-something divorced lady sleuth.) A jealous husband hires Agatha to find out if his wife is two-timing him. Then, Agatha stumbles over the corpse of a teenage girl. Next, the jealous husband himself is offed, poisoned with weed-killer. The pursuit of justice leads Agatha to church fetes and shopping malls; eventually, our fearless detective connects the two crimes and chases down the culprits-though not in time to prevent a third murder. In her spare time, Agatha pines after a married man, gets a seaweed wrap and worries about her thickening waist-line. All in all, this is an entertaining installment in a cozy series.