cover image Down the Hatch: An Agatha Raisin Mystery

Down the Hatch: An Agatha Raisin Mystery

M.C. Beaton, with R.W. Green. Minotaur, $26.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-81613-9

Green, who collaborated with British author Beaton (1936–2019) on 2020’s Hot to Trot, ably continues the adventures of private detective Agatha Raisin, thorn in the side of conservative Cotswold society, in the diverting 32nd installment of this bestselling series. Agatha, out for a bracing power walk through Mircester Park, strides straight into a murder: at least she thinks so, even though ever-inept Detective Chief Inspector Wilkes believes the death to be accidental. The victim, Harold Nelson, is found dressed in the pristine whites of the Mircester Crown Green Bowling Club, lying spread-eagled on the grass, a bottle of rum at his side. His fellow bowlers are quick to describe him as “a foul, bullying loud-mouth” and a “drunken monster.” Nonetheless, Agatha makes it her personal mission to find Nelson’s killer, all the while juggling her paying clients’ cases, which involve, among other things, exotic dancers, space aliens, and a paternity suit. The prose sparkles as usual, but Agatha has softened a bit from her feisty early days, and her romantic pendulum doesn’t swing as wildly as it once did. Series fans will still have fun. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Assoc. (Oct.)