Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden
By M. C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin is in Wyckhadden, a seaside British resort, during the off season. She had a run-in with a vengeful hairdresser who doused her head in hair remover leaving Agatha with several bald spots on her head. So she has retired to Wyckhadden to rest and recover and hopefully grow her hair back. But Wychhadden in the winter is a dismal sort of place and the hotel where she is staying seems to be full of old people who live there year round. Chatting with some of them, Agatha finds out about a local witch, who is said to have many effective potions for sale. Agatha pays a visit to the witch and not only does she buy a hair tonic she also buys a love potion, with a notion of using it on an old lover who seems rather indifferent lately.
After her fur coat is vandalized, Agatha decides to visit the witch again, thinking the witch maybe have been the one who vandalized the coat, only to discover the woman dead, with her head bashed in. So once again, Agatha finds herself involved in a murder investigation.
This was a pretty good read. I liked Agatha, even though she is a bit of a nut. She doesn't think twice about doping the men around her with the witch's love potion just to see if it works. She also doesn't have many qualms about stringing a new guy along when all she really wants is to make the old boy friend jealous. Which works, even though Agatha doesn't know it, as the old boy friend becomes so enraged that he totally writes Agatha off.
So even though there are two murders to solve and Agatha eventually figures out who the killer is, she is not able to figure out the mystery of why Agatha is so alone. The story ends on a down note, as she returns home to her cottage with no one but her cats to keep her warm.
Still, despite the rather morose ending, I found Agatha Raisin to be an amusing if rather unscrupulous heroine and I enjoyed this story which is not only about two deaths but is also about the death of Agatha's youth. It was a good read.