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Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell    by M. C. Beaton order for
Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell
by M. C. Beaton
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2003 (2001)
Hardcover, Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Agatha Raisin never fails to amuse me. She is fiercely independent, outspoken and quick to anger. She can't cook, keeps a sloppy house, has a propensity for finding dead bodies, alienates friends and strangers alike, and has a failing we all share - a need for human companionship. All of her idiosyncrasies get her into countless jams.

The Love from Hell is no exception. Agatha's new husband James (they live in side by side cottages in the Cotswolds) begins an affair with a woman who is subsequently murdered and he is attacked, not necessarily in that order. Agatha, along with an old (and younger) flame Charles, sets out to find the culprit.

Agatha Raisin is both crotchety and endearing. She is middle aged, sliding kicking and screaming into old age. I like her fight, as I'm battling the same one. We'll not go quietly, Agatha and I. With all her foibles, Agatha has a keen mind and uses it to great advantage. She has the tenacity of a pit bull, a characteristic needed to solve crimes. I did find that Beaton's avoidance of contractions made conversations a little stilted. But maybe that's just me. The author's style has not diminished. Grand, of course.

If you're in the mood for a fun read, pick up Agatha Raisin and the Love from Hell and work along with Agatha. The clues are there. Just put them together. Despite its title, Love from Hell is light and airy and a delight from beginning to end.

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