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Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham [Mass Market Paperback]

M. C. Beaton
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Dec 15 1999 Agatha Raisin Mysteries (Book 8)
After a home dye job ruins her hair, Agatha Raisin, the prickly yet lovable amateur sleuth, turns to the wonderful new hairdresser in the neighboring town for help. And as Agatha soon learns, Mr. John is as skilled at repairing her coiffure as he is at romancing her heart. But the charming Mr. John isn't all he appears to be. According to gossip around the salon and the village, some of his former clients seem to be afraid of him. Could Mr. John really be a ruthless blackmailer? When a murderer strikes at the busy salon, Agatha must discover the truth and the killer's identity before it's too late.

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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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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excitement & a Wizard ?? April 25 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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.
Good one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars HAIR TODAY...GONE TOMORROW... March 13 2012
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this eighth book of this contemporary cozy mystery series, the indomitable Agatha Raisin is still trying to meld into village life in the Cotswalds. It is still slow going, as her insecurities still often get the best of her. Agatha is a menopausal woman in her fifties who is trying to look her best and, despite the encroachment of the aging process, still wants men to find her attractive. This can often lead to missteps by our feisty heroine, as when she tries to wash the gray right out of her hair and ends up with purple hair.

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars M. C. Beaton. July 1 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. I am collecting all her mysteries. They are fun, consistent and easy to read.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Agatha Raisin's love life is in a mess . . . even though she's found a great hair dresser, Mr. John (the wizard of Evesham). James Lacey is away and isn't staying in touch. Mr. John is quite delicious in Agatha's eyes, but the frightened reactions of other women to Mr. John's name make Agatha suspicious. Out on a date with Mr. John, she finds her resistance melting. But Sir Charles Fraith (whom she saved from death in Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley and with whom she had a one-night stand in Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist) also wants to date "Aggie" and talks her into a joint investigation of Mr. John. Soon, Agatha is extravagantly throwing money and herself at the wizard . . . but she has some benefit because her hair has never looked better.

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars REALLY WELL WRITTEN April 30 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
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.
Strangely, I found 3 typographical errors in the novel, which seemed strange, as I wonder who proofed the work before publishing, but it was very minor errors like, "I think you're silly," sad Agatha. Instead, it should have been "said".
One thinks with everything done now in Windows, when you hit "spell check," it's only going to find misspellings...not incorrect words.
Other than that, it was a fantastic read !!!
Mike
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Hair Raising Mystery! June 26 2003
By L Smith
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In the 8th book in the Agatha Raisin series, Agatha turns to a "wizard of a hairdresser" to repair the damage she has caused to her hair with a home coloring kit. The hairdresser, Mr. John, is good-looking and quickly charms all of his clients. Agatha soon falls under his spell, and spills her confidences to him. When several of his clients appear to be afraid of him, and then he is found dead, Agatha begins to be suspicious that he was murdered. Sir Charles Fraith, a friend of Agatha's from previous books, suggests to Agatha that Mr. John may have been blackmailing some clients, and one of them killed him to stop the blackmail. Agatha and Charles set out to discover the murderer, before Agatha gets more than just a bad haircut.
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!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, Not Terrible
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 more
Published on Feb. 25 2003 by S. Schwartz
3.0 out of 5 stars This lost it umph at the end....
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.
Published on Dec 13 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable read
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 more
Published on Jan. 31 2000
2.0 out of 5 stars Agatha seems to be going downhill
I was not impressed with this latest Agatha Raisin mystery. M.C. Beaton seemed to be writing to fulfill a contract. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 1999 by Lisa
3.0 out of 5 stars Long suffering Agatha and Dear Reader
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 more
Published on Oct. 3 1999
1.0 out of 5 stars boring, far-fetched and full of its own cliches
The last three Agatha Raisin books have shown a decided drop in readability--plot, character growth, etc.--but this is the worst. Read more
Published on June 10 1999
2.0 out of 5 stars One-note Agatha Raisin
Though I remain a staunch supporter of the Agatha Raisin series, its plot staples (Agatha's unrequited love for James, her feeling displaced in the Cotswolds, her battles with... Read more
Published on May 16 1999 by jbrown0959@aol.com
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