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Something Borrowed, Someone Dead: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton
Cover Artist: Griesbach / Martucci
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312640132
Date: 17 September 2013 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Jerry Tarrant, head of the Piddlebury parish council, hires Agatha Raisin to discover who murdered Gloria French with poisoned elderberry wine. The man-hungry Gloria had a nasty habit of borrowing and never returning her neighbors' property. Agatha and her beautiful, young assistant, Toni Gilmour, arrive in the picture-postcard hamlet of Piddlebury; soon after, there is another fatal poisoning. Agatha learns that most everyone in this close-knit community loathed Gloria and is glad she is dead.

Despite the murder and mayhem that still continue, the community mysteriously bands together in a concerted effort to force Agatha and her friends out of the hamlet.

Missing a new Agatha Raisin novel would be like missing a major holiday. I would be gravely disappointed. Fortunately, I was able to read M.C. Beaton's latest Agatha Raisin mystery, Something Borrowed, Someone Dead, and found it to be an insanely whacky, fast-paced cozy consisting of one delirious laugh after another. This one made me laugh out loud more than her previous two, As The Pig Turns and Hiss and Hers.

There is a tremendous amount of violence in this book. Towards the end, the novel became like a silly parody of a horror movie when the number of corpses increases as the villain and their friends receive their just rewards. Furthermore, this cozy has a strong element of witchcraft, which may intrigue readers, such as me, who have an affinity for the occult.

The one-street hamlet of Piddlebury (consisting of a church, a pub, a manor, and thatch-roofed cottages) is lovely and quaint, but there is a strong foreboding that enshrouds it and the nearby woods. The atmosphere gives Agatha and her detective friends the willies. Often, she refers to Piddlebury as the village of the damned. It lends credence to the old adage that appearances can be deceiving.

Gossip travels quicker than electricity in Piddlebury and everyone is being controlled and manipulated by one of the strangest, most ruthless villains I've encountered in a cozy. It seems that this person has a total disregard for human life. Agatha finds herself in mortal danger not once, but several times.

M.C. Beaton's Something Borrowed, Someone Dead is one of the most violent, most hilarious cozies I have ever read. It is a must read for Agatha Raisin fans. Unable to put it down, I read it in two days. No matter how tired or exhausted you are, you won't fall asleep reading this one, unlike the elderly Mrs. Tripp who always fell asleep while a visitor read to her. She was a hilarious character. Always smelling bad, always farting, she loved to have someone read to her a trashy romance novel. They grew exceedingly vile as the plot progressed. My sides hurt each time someone read to Mrs. Tripp.

Ironically enough, M.C. Beaton has written countless historical romance novels under various pseudonyms. I wonder if she is making fun of herself. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to her next Agatha Raisin novel as much as I'm looking forward to the next holiday.

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