Hiss and Hers; An Agatha Raisin Mystery

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If only the bossy, beloved Agatha Raisin were as lucky at finding the right man as she is at catching killers in M. C. Beaton's New York Times bestselling mystery series Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of everyone's favorite sleuth, M. C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin is as feisty as ever—armed with her famous wit and biting sense of humor. This time, though, there's some biting of a whole other sort going on. Agatha has fallen head over heels in love—again. This time, she has her eye on the local gardener, George Marston, but so do other women in their little Cotswold village. Shamelessly determined, Agatha will do anything to get her man—including footing the bill for a charity ball just for the chance to dance with him. And then George doesn't even show up. Only partly deterred, Agatha goes looking for him, and finds his dead body in a compost heap. Murder is definitely afoot, but this killer chose no ordinary weapon: A poisonous snake delivered the fatal strike.Rising to the occasion, Agatha rallies her little detective agency to find the killer, only to learn that George had quite a complicated love life. But murderously complicated? Well, if she can't have George, at least Agatha can have the satisfaction of confronting the other women and solving the crime. With Hiss & Hers, once again, M. C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery (The New York Times Book Review) in the irresistible adventures of the irrepressible Agatha.
   Tis is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events por-trayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.  . Copyright © 2012 by M. C. Beaton. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.  www .minotaurbooks .com ISBN 978- 0- 312- 61625- 0 (hardcover) ISBN 978-1-250-01526-6 (e-book)First Edition: September 201210 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1   A gatha Raisin, private detective, was in the grip of a great obsession. Her friend, the vicar’s wife, Mrs. Bloxby, reflected sadly that Agatha, a normally shrewd woman, seemed to lose her wits when she fell in love.For Agatha had fallen for the village of Carsely’s gar-dener and odd-  job man, George Marston. He had  worked on her garden until it was into shape and then  Agatha, to Mrs. Bloxby’s horror, had smashed up her perfectly good bookshelves in order to employ him again doing carpentry. Chapter One   2  George Marston, ex- army, was over six feet tall with green eyes and thick blond hair streaked with grey.But Agatha had fierce competition from the other  women in the Cotswold village, and from one very dan-gerous one in par tic u lar. Jessica Fordyce, a leading ac- tress in a long- running hospital drama, had bought a cottage in the village for week- ends. Jessica was in her thirties, petite, with flaming red hair framing a heart- shaped face. And she was witty and amusing.  And   she seemed to need a lot of gardening work done. Agatha began to grudge the time spent out of the  village on detective work. She ran a successful detective agency in Mircester. But she reminded herself that she had moved to the Cotswolds from London and had taken early retirement, although in her early fifties, to enjoy life.She fretted over her appearance. How could thick glossy brown hair and good legs compete with such as  Jessica? Jessica’s eyes were large and blue. Agatha’s were small and bearlike, looking warily out from a round face. Tings came to a head for Agatha when George rang one eve ning and said he hoped to take her for lunch the following day to repay the lunch she had previously bought him. “But of course you will be at work as usual,” he said.“I’m free this week- end,” said Agatha hopefully.
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