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Hot to Trot: Agatha Raisin #31    by M. C. Beaton order for
Hot to Trot
by M. C. Beaton
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Hot to Trot follows Beating About the Bush as the thirty-first in M.C. Beaton's popular series starring formidable PI Agatha Raisin (now the star of a hit TV show), who lives in the Cotswold village of Carsely. The last few episodes have seen Agatha feeling her age, with a steady stream of lightning infatuations, despite her continuing closeness to her ex-husband (and neighbor) James and to Sir Charles Fraith.

As Hot to Trot opens, Agatha feels betrayed by the fact that Charles is about to be married (again) and hasn't informed her, or invited her to the wedding. She thinks he's in trouble, which turns out to be true. The bride (decades younger than Agatha) is Mary Darlinda Brown-Field, who's very involved in the competitive equestrian world, and appears to be disliked by everyone who knows her - and for very good cause.

Agatha gatecrashes the wedding, and does the same for a costume party after the honeymoon, where she ends up in a brawl with the bride. When Lady Mary is murdered that same evening, both Agatha and Charles come under suspicion and are hauled off to jail, despite an alibi. Naturally, Agatha sets her detective agency in motion to investigate and solves the case, though her friendship with Charles is badly damaged in the process.

The book opens with a Foreword by R.W. Green (who helped complete this book) and with an Introduction to the Agatha Raisin series by the author, who very sadly died in December 2019. Both make fascinating reading, and M. C. Beaton will be sorely missed by her myriad of fans.

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