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The Witches' Tree: An Agatha Raisin Mystery    by M. C. Beaton order for
Witches' Tree
by M. C. Beaton
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2017 (2017)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Witches' Tree is the twenty-eighth in M. C. Beaton's ever popular Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series. At this stage in her life and career, the still sensual Agatha, though surrounded by various ex's - husband, lover etc. - is feeling and fighting her age more than ever.

Formidable PI Agatha Raisin lives in the Cotswold village of Carsely, and works with a small team of eccentric assistant investigators, though her ex's seem to tag along a lot too. There's a lot of to-ing and fro-ing needed this time, as the first corpse shows up, hanging from a gnarled tree (known locally as the witches' tree) in the nearby village of Sumpton Harcourt.

Margaret Darby's body is discovered by the new, young vicar and his wife, Rory and Molly Devere. Their previous posting was in London's East End. When Agatha, tired of investigating 'lost cats and divorces', and short on 'dreams and obsessions' at the moment, bumps into Molly, she decides to start digging. Molly helps Agatha corner a client, but doesn't share her own secrets.

The next victim is a policeman, also hung in the witches' tree, near the Hanged Man pub! And he's not the last. Agatha has her moment of fame, though it's not one she would have chosen, after an encounter with the local coven. She solves the case, but at great risk to life and limb ... which makes her ponder her life choices.

Though this plot meanders even more than usual, it's always fun to spend time with the outrageous Agatha Raisin and her lively libido!

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