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The Perfect Paragon (Agatha Raisin Mysteries, No. 16) Mass Market Paperback – June 27, 2006

4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Welcome back to Carsely, the charming Cotswolds village that's home to the 16th Agatha Raisin mystery. (If you've missed the first 15, just imagine a Barbara Pym novel with murder, mayhem and the sexual longings of a 50-something divorced lady sleuth.) A jealous husband hires Agatha to find out if his wife is two-timing him. Then, Agatha stumbles over the corpse of a teenage girl. Next, the jealous husband himself is offed, poisoned with weed-killer. The pursuit of justice leads Agatha to church fetes and shopping malls; eventually, our fearless detective connects the two crimes and chases down the culprits-though not in time to prevent a third murder. In her spare time, Agatha pines after a married man, gets a seaweed wrap and worries about her thickening waist-line. All in all, this is an entertaining installment in a cozy series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Though Agatha is still a bit of a piece of work, she is mellowing with age, and in this book even forgets to ‘gussy' herself up once when she goes out. There's a cliffhanger at the end...that is going to be interesting in the next book.” ―Deadly Pleasures

“This is the latest perfectly precious prose problem from Beaton, Britain's successor to Dame Agatha Christie. If you've never read an Agatha Raisin novel, it's time to start, and you'll have fifteen more of these confections awaiting you. Polish those off, and you still have a batch of Hamish Macbeth tales. All of them are cunningly plotted, beautifully written and more fun you can imagine. The Perfect Paragon is as perfect as all the others, and you won't figure out whodunit until the final pages.” ―The Globe & Mail

“Entertaining…welcome back to Carsely, the charming Cotswolds village that's home to the sixteenth Agatha Raisin mystery.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Fabulous…M.C. Beaton is at her best with this fine tale filled with twists.” ―Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312984790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312984793
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,136,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

M.C. BEATON has won international acclaim for her bestselling Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries. She is also the author of over 100 romance titles and a series of romantic suspense, The Edwardian Mystery Series. M. C. Beaton lives in a Cotswold cottage with her husband.

Marion is active on Facebook using her most popular pen name, M.C. Beaton. You can find complete book lists, information on events, and sign up for news updates at her website, www.MCBeaton.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I am a long-time fan of Agatha Raisin, having read every one of the books in this series. What I liked best about this series-- the charm of the Cotswolds, the affectionate way in which the author portrays Agatha with all her foibles, the humor of her near disasters--has been gradually eroding ever since Agatha opened her own detective agency. I find the continual stream of irrelevant lost dogs and cats to be distracting. The change of setting is also a disappointment. With the recent addition of lurid murders, I am not sure I want to read the rest of Agatha Raisin's adventures. At this point she is turning into just another detective.
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Format: Hardcover
Another enjoyable and amusing installment in a series I have a huge soft spot for. This time around, Agatha finds herself caught up in two perplexing cases -- that of an unpleasant client who, unexpectedly, end up being murdered, and the sad and cruel murder of a young sixteen year old girl.

Agatha is beginning to feel her age and as a result is feeling quite depressed and blue about it. To top it all, her new detective agency is not doing all that well, and she's had to let a few employees go. But as a favour to Mrs. Bloxby, Agatha agrees to hire pensioner Phil Witherspoon, who brings in the extremely rich Robert Smedley as a client. Smedley thinks that his unassuming and dowdy wife, Mabel, is cheating on him, and he wants the evidence to prove it. And while Agatha dislikes Smedley on sight, finding him rude and boorish, she agrees to take on the case. But the saintly Mabel seems to be above reproach, and Agatha can't help shaking the feeling that she would be better served keeping an eye on her client instead. Her suspicions prove only all too true when first Smedley dismisses her, claiming that he had overreacted, and then ends up being poisoned at work.

At the same time, Agatha also finds herself involved in another murder case when she finds the body of missing teen, Jessica Bradley, and decides to find the killer both for publicity and because the sight of Jessica's abandoned body really affected her. The more Agatha and her team uncover about both cases, the more they seem to be connected. But what is the thing that links the two? And who would have wanted to kill poor, harmless Jessica? And in such a brutal way? Agatha is determined to find out...
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
For fans of the irascible Agatha Raisin, this is another entertaining episode in the life of the Cotswold detective. Though still a fiery, confrontational lady of "a certain age," Agatha appears to finally be developing some people skills. Once described as having the personality of a pit bull, Agatha is now doing favors for people and even saving the professional reputation of another out of the goodness of her heart. Yes, unbelievably, I was able to write "the goodness of her heart" when referring to Agatha Raisin. Agatha also hires some new people for her detective agency. Employees like Harry, a brainy but offbeat character, and Phil, a geriatric photographer smitten with a potential murderess, are developed adeptly by M.C. Beaton and they add fun and freshness to the series. Perennial favorites like Bill Wong, Mrs. Bloxby, Sir Charles Fraith, and Roy Silver also offer new dimensions to their characters which prevents the series from becoming banal and stale. However, it is the reappearance of someone else from the past that promises to make the next installment truly unforgettable.
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Format: Hardcover
I have enjoyed Beaton's 3 series over the years but never said so in any public forum. I was absolutely floored that another reader so hated this book while I meanwhile was berating myself to read the mystery slower so it wouldn't end so soon.(I finished in less than 3 hours). There were several new characters yet still enough appearances of the old "friends" and interesting plots to take my mind off the g-d hottest day of the summer. My only complaint is that there isn't a new Hamish mystery to read right NOW. Thank you M.C. Beaton for your characters, your settings, your plots and your writing.
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Format: Hardcover
Unfortunetly what was once a good series of stories has dipped with the publication of the last two stories - coincidencing with a change of emphasis in the plotline.

Out as gone the bitchy amatuer Agatha and the well developed characters to be replaced with an Agatha who now cares about peoples feelings. For regular readers of the books, they will know that Agatha is not one for mellowing.

The characters which now surround her are at best poorly developed and are just too good to be true. Any obstacle is now easily overcome, any guess now becomes a fact and with it, the interest has vanished.

There is a chance to turn around the padded out plots with book 17 but I doubt we will see it happen. Much the pity, for there is a great character here which is being poorly utilised.
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Format: Hardcover
In the Cotswolds, figuring she might as well get paid for having someone try to kill her, Agatha Raisin turned pro, opening up Raisin Investigations. After working a dangerous case in which she almost died (see THE DEADLY DANCE), Agatha hires new office help that she hopes is a bit friendlier and safer than her previous assistant.

A new client snooty Robert Smedley hires Agatha to prove that his wife Mabel is cheating on him. Though she fears a domestic investigation, Agatha accepts the case because she needs the money, but finds Mabel seems to be a paragon of society. She shows no indiscretions, goes to church, and volunteers her time. Agatha wonders if Ms. Smedley is human as she finds nothing on Mabel. The sleuth locates the corpse of teenager Jessica Bradley. Feeling good will while wondering if Mabel is rubbing off on her (God forbid) Agatha volunteers to investigate the murder; positive publicity being a virtue. However, when someone murders her client (thank goodness she received an advance) she drops the case since no one can pay her expenses or fee that is until the widow hires Agatha to prove she did not murder her late husband.

Agatha Raisin is her usual crusty, in your face self in this fabulous entry of the long running series refreshed by her turning pro. Unlike most of the literary sleuths who feel obligated to solve a client's murder, Agatha stays true to character seeing no economic gain by wasting her time on a non-paying job until THE PERFECT PARAGON hires her. M.C. Beaton is at her best with this fine tale filled with twists but kept together by the irascible uncouth Agatha.
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