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Something Borrowed, Someone Dead: An Agatha Raisin Mystery (Agatha Raisin Mysteries) Hardcover – September 17, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 224 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The murder of Gloria French, a widow with an appetite for seduction and a penchant for borrowing but not returning things, sets off a calamitous chain of events in bestseller Beaton's lively 24th Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2012's Hiss and Hers). Keen for a speedy resolution to the case, Jerry Tarrant, head of the parish council in the Cotswolds village of Piddlebury, hires PI Agatha to investigate. In the course of interviewing villagers who might have done in Gloria by giving her a bottle of poisoned elderberry wine, plucky and persistent Agatha annoys someone enough to prompt an attempt on her life. Comic mishaps include an impromptu TV performance in which she tries to cook an omelet. A Miss Marple who enjoys drink, cigarettes, and men, Agatha displays a wit and sharp tongue that will continue to please her many fans. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Associates. (Sept.)

From Booklist

Some people love an English cream tea, in which clotted cream is lavished on crumpets in an artery-threatening way, and some people find cream teas incredibly cloying. Whatever side you’re on, you’ll recognize the same phenomenon—some say scrumptious, some say cloying—reading this cozy starring Agatha Raisin, a private eye in the Cotswolds. Beaton just about clobbers her readers over the head with multiple references to “the Cotswolds,” “the neighboring hamlet,” “the vicar’s wife.” There’s even a lady of the manor, who, we are told, is very much like Maggie Smith as the Dowager Duchess in Downton Abbey. The plot is fairly predictable: a newcomer to a tiny village with a bad habit of “borrowing” others’ belongings is found poisoned after drinking some pilfered wine. Agatha moves from pub to vicar’s house to manor house, questioning everyone in sight. Although this is set in today’s world, it seems very much like the world of the early twentieth century. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series is extremely popular and, often, good fun. This one seems like a too-calculated cozy—except for the clotted-cream crowd. --Connie Fletcher
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Product Details

  • Series: Agatha Raisin Mysteries (Book 24)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312640137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312640132
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (224 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #750,092 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: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read all the Agatha Raisin books and while there have been times when Agatha's pettiness, jealousy, and inability to get past her childhood issues get on one's nerves, I've enjoyed the series overall, although the character flaws grow tiresome. I was looking forward to this book and pre-ordered it for my Kindle. What an absolute piece of nonsense and trash it turned out to be! The conversations between characters did not flow, events jumped here, there, yonder, and wherever, Agatha was portrayed as a jealous, insecure, and totally vain person - there was no growth to the character at all and perhaps that's what I find so disheartening. If an author is going to write a series of continuing characters, one expects those characters to grow, learn some life lessons, and dare I say maybe mature? Unfortunately, Agatha is a tired repeat with nothing to redeem her actions.

I tend to agree with another reviewer that this book was written by a ghost writer . . . or perhaps by a computer program. It was hastily turned out and I had to force myself to finish it, something that rarely occurs. It has turned me off the author and I will no longer buy any more of her books. When one spends an exorbitant amount of money for a kindle edition of a book (upwards of over $10 USD) and gets trash in return, then it's time to stop buying. I cannot recommend it to anyone. If you feel you must read it, then borrow it. Do not put anymore money in Amazon's or the author's pocket! It just isn't worth it.
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By Reader on October 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the first book I have read in this series, and, though not overly enthused, I was not disappointed either. Agatha raisin and her staff explore the death of a brassy woman, who borrowed items from everyone and conveniently forgot or neglected to return them from poison imbibed in some elderberry wine she had "borrowed" from a donor at a recent faire. Agatha is asked to investigate the murder, but finds the going difficult, as the townspeople try every way they can to block or stymie her or her staff's efforts. I found the basic murder plot enjoyable reading, but there was so much other extraneous stuff I the book that I wondered whether the author was just padding things. Every time I read more, I found another event/incident involving Agatha's poor relationship with and understanding of her staff or of a friend in some sort of personal relationship, which only detracted from the basic story. The long-time reader of the series, familiar with all the strengths and foibles of the characters, may appreciate the way the author expanded, explained and resolved some as well as their tempering with the main character, Agatha Raison. One thing I found interesting and somewhat unique about this murder plot and story was the fact that the book took place over large spans of time, unlike most of the other mysteries I read and have read. However, once the basic plot was developed and the murder occurred, a lot of the other sub-plots seemed to only prolong things without really adding to the main story. The author has well-developed characters, and the settings in the typical English country town and villages was authentic and interesting. I recommend die-hard readers of the series read this book, because, in addition to an interesting plot, it may tie up some loose ends about the characters.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I'll bet you any amount of money it wasn't M.C. Beaton. The good news is that the technical writing has improved. (The past few books were plagued with choppy writing, lack of transition, and repetitive sentences.) All that is gone, and the sentences flow a little bit better. But what else is missing are the descriptive, characteristic dialogues, as well individual mannerisms of Agatha and the village regulars that made them the "people" that we have come to know. Agatha, Charles, Roy, Toni, James, Mrs. Bloxby, and the rest are all painted with the same brush, lacking any individual mannerisms at all. Further, the premise is as ridiculous as the conclusion -- in short, bland and boring and unbelievable. I do hate it when a series is taken over by a ghostwriter or writers as this so obviously was. Better to retire the series than hand loyal readers such pablum.
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Format: Hardcover
Agatha Raisin is one of my favorite literary characters. However, in this book I wondered if the author had tired of the character and planned to kill her off. Normally, she is portrayed as a curmdgeonly matron who is a hopeless romantic. Why else would she give up a profitable career and start her own shoestring detective business in a small town? And she is forever searching for Mister Right in all the wrong places. However, in this book, she was a pathetic old woman lusting after everything in pants. And why add the whole part on a bunch of other old women being murderous wtches instead of the helpless old women they seemed to be? It was as though the book was just hurriedly cobbled together. This was the first book in the series that I actually didn't like and if Agatha continues to be portrayed as a pathetic and needy old woman, I think I will stop reading the series.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I am a huge fan of the Agatha Raisin series, but this one really dragged on and on and on. I really wondered where Ms. Beaton's editor was when she was writing this book because a good chunk of the book could have been tossed out of this book without losing the story.
It was like Ms. Beaton was trying to wrap everything up in a nice bow with an extremely long epilogue, and it just ended up a very tangled piece of boring yarn.
Really disappointed, but I am glad I borrowed (no pun intended) this book from the library and not bought it.
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