This series of British cozy mysteries is a sure fire winner. The central character, Agatha Raisin, is brought to life under the author's deft pen. The aggressive, irrepressible, and menopausal Agatha, with a penchant for cigarettes and cocktails, as well as a strong desire for romance, is the modern day version of Dame Christie's Jane Marple. Set in the bucolic Cotswold village of Carsely, one would think that nothing ever happens there.
In this third book in the series, Agatha is still pining away for her neighbor, retired colonel, James Lacey, for whom she has romantic longings to which he is proving quite resistant. Instead, he seems to be interested in Carsely's newest incomer, divorcee Mary Fortune, who is not only beautiful but also has a green thumb. As luck would have it, James Lacey has a penchant for gardening. Of course, this leaves Agatha green with envy, determined to fight fire with fire and beat Mary at her own game.
When the gardens of Carsely come under attack by person or persons unknown, however, and a shocking murder follows, Agatha and James once again join forces to discover just who or what is causing all the brouhaha in Carsely. Their investigation into these goings on, as well as Agatha's efforts to get James to respond to her romantic longings, will keep the reader turning the pages.
As with all cozy mysteries, the mystery is secondary to the recurring characters and their relationships with each other. It is merely the framework around which the characters and village life evolve, giving the reader a good sense of place, as well as an interest in the characters, while leaving the reader wanting more. This is a fun and highly enjoyable series to read, humorous and entertaining, with a host of interesting characters. The dialogue is believable, and the plot moves forward at a brisk pace. It is a highly addictive series.