M.C. Beaton (AKA Marion Chesney) is the author of the acclaimed Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin cozy mystery series. Busy Body is the twenty-first novel in Beaton's Agatha Raisin series.
It's Christmas time once again, and Agatha Raisin has fled her cozy Cotswold town of Carsely to enjoy a "perfect" Christmas holiday in peace. As Agatha traipses around in Corsica attempting to enjoy her holiday, an officer from the Health and Safety Board named John Sunday is terrorizing Agatha's neighbors back in Carsely. Apparently, the residents' Christmas decorations and activities have been deemed too dangerous by the Scrooge-like Sunday, and Christmas in Carsely has all but come to a halt.
Cutting her Christmas vacation short, Agatha returns to Carsely, and is given an earful from her neighbors about Sunday's attempts to shut down the village's festivities. It isn't long after Agatha's return that Sunday is murdered, and Agatha's detective agency takes on the case. Nevertheless, this mystery won't be easy to solve, especially since Sunday was hated passionately by all of Carsely.
M.C. Beaton never fails to please in the cozy mystery department. Readers familiar with Agatha Raisin and her past attempts to enjoy Christmas will smirk and giggle through the first chapter of Busy Body, which, of course, provides a rundown of Agatha's numerous vacation misfortunes.
When Agatha returns to Carsely, she is reunited with characters who are series regulars; including the cheapskate and wannabe-lothario Sir Charles Fraith, the pale and weedy Roy Silver, and the ever-present beloved characters of Mrs. Bloxby and Toni Gilmour. Beaton also introduces a new character named Simon Black - an intelligent, young, and clowny-looking young man who is hired by Agatha's detective agency and may also be a future potential love interest for Toni.
The mystery at the core of Busy Body is pure Beaton in all its glory - chock-full of red herrings, eccentric characters, and a cliffhanger ending about Agatha's love life that leaves us in the lurch for the series' next installment. Actually, Beaton was feeling extra generous in regards to Agatha's love-life in Busy Body, making her the apple of the eyes of several major recurring characters. It's about damned time!
Preceding Busy Body in this series are There Goes the Bride and A Spoonful of Poison. Readers who are caught up with the series can follow up Busy Body with As the Pig Turns, and Hiss and Hers, which is scheduled to release in September 2012.
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