Thursday, August 7, 2008

Spoonful of Poison-M.C. Beaton

Spoonful of Poison
M.C. Beaton
St. Martin, Oct 2008, $24.95
ISBN 9780312349127

In Comfrey Magna in Cotsword, elderly Mrs. Andrews seems in good spirits as she attends a church charity gala. She remains upbeat when she suddenly leaps from the tower of Saint Odo the Severe. While almost everyone watched in horror, someone robbed the proceeds. An autopsy finds LSD in her; further inquiry leads to someone spiking the jam with that hallucinatory drug.

Private investigator Agatha Raisin and her apprentice Toni Gilmour investigate as do the police. Both competing groups focus on the six women who donated the jam. However, a homicide and the suicide of one of the six suspects Sybilla Triast-Perkins complicates a case that is more muddled than the respective love lives of either Agatha or Toni

This amusing cozy works on two levels as Agatha is her usual irascible self while challenging the police to try to out sleuth her and her sidekick. The romantic capers of Agatha and Toni add depth to the pair. However, it is the investigation as the ever mocking cocky (pun intended) Agatha goes breast to chest with the police daring them to solve the case before they are KISSING CHRISTMAS GOODBYE.

Harriet Klausner