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Agatha Raisin Stumbles to the Altar, Smacks Her Husband, and Becomes a Murder Suspect
am 10. Juli 2007
If you haven't read any other Agatha Raisin stories, go back and start with Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death. You'll be sure to like that book and your appreciation of this one will be greater if you start with Quiche.
In Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Wembley, Agatha and her handsome next-door neighbor, James Lacey, went undercover and lived together as man and wife to track down a brutal murderer. Agatha naturally hoped the propinquity would give James ideas, but he was notably unromantic throughout . . . except in the end when he proposed to Agatha and she accepted his proposal.
But you may remember from Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death that Agatha was separated and not divorced from her husband, Jimmy Raisin, when she moved to Carsely in the English Cotswolds. Since she had told everyone that, naturally people asked her about her plans to marry James. Concerned that a delay might cause James Lacey to change his mind, Agatha tells one and all that Jimmy had died of drink. But that's only her fond hope. She plans a low-key wedding that won't attract any attention.
But Roy Silver, a former employee from her old PR agency, moves into the information breach by hiring a detective to find Jimmy after Agatha rebuffs Roy's attempts to get her back into PR. The detective finds Jimmy, Roy tells him about the wedding, and Jimmy heads for Carsely on the wedding day.
The wedding doesn't happen, and Agatha barely escapes being charged with attempted bigamy. James Lacey is outraged at Agatha and takes off. Thoroughly annoyed with Jimmy Raisin, when Agatha next encounters him she slaps him hard and pushes him into a ditch. An hour later, the police charged her with Jimmy's murder.
From there, Agatha finds herself interested in clearing her name, regaining the affections of James Lacey, and regaining her cottage (which she had sold in anticipation of the marriage to James.
In the process, Agatha finds out what being married to James might have been like and discovers it's not all good news. The pursuit of James' affections is complicated by someone who seems to be interested in killing Agatha. Others find themselves as risk after Agatha and James visit them. Does Agatha have a death touch?
If this book hadn't had such a strong first chapter, I would have rated it at three stars. Much of the book is taken up with the emotional reticence of James Lacey, a subject that doesn't interest me all that much.
The mystery of who did the murders is fairly easy to solve and doesn't provide enough of a counterbalance to the James Lacey-Agatha Raisin romantic complications.
But if you are committed to the Agatha Raisin series, you can't skip this book: You won't be able to fully appreciate Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist, the next book in the series.