Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham Mass Market Paperback – Dec 15 1999
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"She was a stocky middle-aged woman with good legs, a round face and small bearlike eyes which looked suspiciously out at the world. Her hair had always been her pride, thick and brown and glossy."
That description, which could also fit Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie, tells us almost everything we need to know about Agatha Raisin, M.C. Beaton's smartly updated Miss Marple, who does most of her amateur sleuthing amidst the glowing stone villages of England's Cotswold district. Cozy without being the least bit cute, Beaton's books about this tough little Raisin cookie are well-made and smoothly oiled entertainment machines, working unexpected changes on familiar turf.
It is indeed her prideful hair that leads Agatha onto the trail of murder in her eighth adventure, when a charming hairdresser called Mr. John repairs her disastrous home dye job, then makes what appear to be romantic overtures. Love will not blossom here though, as some time later Mr. John is discovered dead in his chair, the victim of a Christie-like rare poison. Was the hairdresser also a collector of dirty secrets? Or was his killer just having a bad hair day? Trust Agatha and Beaton to solve it all in style, complaining all the way of course.
Previous Agatha Raisin outings include Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death, Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death, Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage, and Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
It doesn't take long for Agatha Raisin, the touchy heroine of the series of catty English cozies by the prolific Beaton (see Death of an Addict, above), to turn a bad hair day into a mini-crime wave. In an attempt to get rid of the gray, Agatha accidentally colors her hair purple. Soon she finds herself in the capable hands of Mr. John, a hairdresser with a devoted following in nearby Evesham. Tinting and styling aren't his only tricksAwith his deep blue eyes and sympathetic nature, he coaxes all sorts of confidences out of his clients. Even the tough Agatha half falls under his spell, although she has an excuse since she's heartsick over neighbor James Lacey, who's left her alone while he goes on holiday. But when several of Agatha's neighbors appear terrified of Mr. John, her fellow amateur sleuth Sir Charles suggestsAalmost hopefully, in his summer doldrumsAthat the hairdresser might be a blackmailer. Agatha agrees to set herself up to catch Mr. John in the act, but the suspect dies of poisoning before he can take the bait. Fearing she might be on a killer's shortlist herself, Agatha sets out to find the murderer. Beaton masterfully describes the annoyances and ego deflations suffered by the middle-aged Agatha, as well as the summertime blues caused by unusually hot weather. But the plot, which itself seems to suffer from heat exhaustion, isn't terribly plausible, and could have used a dose of the wide-eyed Detective Sergeant Bill Wong, who barely shows up here. Agatha's fans will take her any way they can get her, but they won't leave this one feeling fully satisfied.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
What is a girl to do? Well, Agatha turns to Mr. John, the much in demand hairdresser in the nearby village of Eversham, to rectify the situation. When she meets Mr. John, he actually succeeds in fixing her hair problem, and she, too, falls under the spell of his blue eyes and his charmingly, reassuring manner that inspires cozy confidences. Poor Agatha, she always seems to be looking for love in all the wrong places.
When some clients seem to be afraid of this hair wizard, Agatha's friend, Sir Charles Fraith, suggests that perhaps that those cozy confidences are simply the basis for some sort of blackmail by Mr. John. A concerned Agatha then decides to look into these allegations of blackmail, but before it bears fruit, the hair wizard of Eversham dies under mysterious circumstances, poisoned.
What follows is typical Agatha Raisin. There are many twists and turns, as Agatha, our ever engaging heroine, bumbles along as she tries to discover just who is up to no good. Her investigatory efforts, however, land her and Sir Charles Fraith in a bit of a pickle, as they themselves suspects in the murder of the wizard of Eversham.Read more ›
All of this fun is interrupted when Mr. John is poisoned. Agatha and Charles up their investigations . . . and also draw danger to themselves. They also draw more than the usual ire from the police, including Bill Wong who is being watched very carefully lest he play favorites with Agatha.
This is a confused Agatha. She makes fewer good decisions than usual and is clearly adrift emotionally. For those who like to think of Agatha as the next thing to Super Woman, this book will be a disappointment. If you don't like hair-based humor, this book also won't excite you.
Part of the appeal in this book comes from knowing how attached some women get to a given hairdresser. Turning that sometime attachment into a humorous mystery story is a good idea.
Detecting with Sir Charles isn't quite as much fun as detecting with a friendly James Lacey. There are also fewer romantic dreams for Agatha to relate.Read more ›
I am a huge fan of the Agatha Raisin series and I highly enjoyed this installment. Noticeably absent in this book is Agatha's on-again, off-again love interest, James Lacey and I since I am not a huge fan of his character, I was glad he was on holiday. Overall, this is a wonderful book to read if you like cozy mysteries, or want to laugh aloud at some of the troubles with being a middle-aged, single woman.
The first book in the series is "Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death". Enjoy!
As for the "mystery," it fell flat. Rather than taking a truly active role in the storyline, Agatha blunders through the story. It hardly seems in character that a tough businesswoman would be such a victim in any aspect of her life. Elements from past novels were recycled (Agatha buying catered food, passing it off as her own. Agatha "solving" a crime by placing herself in the killer's hands.)
If Agatha must remain a cardboard figure, why not explore the lives of the others in the village of Carsley? Though the vicar's wife, Mrs. Bloxby, is made to seem a paragon of Christian charity and humility, I sense each time she appears a more sinister side could be lurking just beneath the surface. It is the mark of a truly poor book when a secondary character draws a reader's interest more than the titular main character.
Let's have more and BETTER Agatha Raisin.
Most recent customer reviews
A bit different but always enticing !! Agatha finds a hair magician to help her get back to her natural ?? shade and finds much more , as well as some romance.
M. C. Beaton is one of my favourite authors. Her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries seem to go on and on and I can't wait for the next one. Read morePublished on July 1 2011 by Wol Curtis
I read this book in two sittings, and it's the first I've read in the series. Honestly, I love M.C. Beaton now. So, I went and bought a bunch of Raisin Novels. Read morePublished on April 30 2004
I enjoyed this installment of Agatha. If nothing else, we were spared the odious James this time round. I think Charles is better than him - at least he's true to a type! Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2003 by Shirley Schwartz
This book was really great and it seemed to loose something at the end.
I love all the characters Agatha Raisin is in contact with.
Ok, Agatha is not perfect. She is still too obsessed with James Lacey and keeps on getting together (for a night at least) with that idiot, Sir Charles Fraith. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2000
I was not impressed with this latest Agatha Raisin mystery. M.C. Beaton seemed to be writing to fulfill a contract. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 1999 by Lisa
Although this book was a tad more cohesively written than the "wellspring of death", and the reappearance of Charles is less numbing than James, I, too am eager for... Read morePublished on Oct. 2 1999