cover image The Witches’ Tree: An Agatha Raisin Mystery

The Witches’ Tree: An Agatha Raisin Mystery

M.C. Beaton. Minotaur, $25.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-05746-4

In bestseller Beaton’s disappointing 28th Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2016’s Pushing Up Daisies), Rory Harris, a vicar recently arrived from London, and his beautiful wife, Molly, are driving home from a dinner party to the Cotswolds village of Sumpton Harcourt when they spot a body hanging from what is known as the witches’ tree. The body turns out to be that of elderly Margaret Darby, a church helper. Did the poor woman commit suicide, Molly wonders, or was she murdered? Agatha, who heads her own detective agency, takes a break from obsessing about her dismal personal life and her endless quest for romance and sex to befriend Rory and Molly—and to look into what is ruled a case of homicide. More murders follow. Agatha’s friend Sir Charles Fraith, a selfish and manipulative man who drops in and out of her life, assists on occasion. For large chunks of the book, it’s possible to forget that there are unsolved murders and wallow instead in the frustrations of a smart but rather pathetic middle-aged woman. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Associates. (Oct.)