Reviews for Beating about the bush

Publishers Weekly
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At the start of bestseller Beaton’s winning 29th Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2018’s The Dead Ringer), Albert Morrison, the chairman of an English company that manufactures batteries, hires PI Agatha to find the saboteur responsible for burning down the company’s R&D department and with it the prototype of a highly anticipated new product. In the course of her investigation, Agatha comes across the body of Mrs. Dinwiddy, Morrison’s longtime assistant. The blunt-force trauma to the head in the shape of a hoof points to the company’s pet donkey, Wizz-Wazz. Agatha concludes Wizz-Wazz is innocent after discovering an ashtray made from a donkey’s hoof. Disapproving of the subsequent save-the-donkey PR campaign Agatha initiates, Morrison fires her, but this only strengthens her determination to solve Mrs. Dinwiddy’s murder. The obnoxious, rude, and outspoken Agatha may not appeal to every reader, but cozy fans with a taste for the silly and the offbeat will be gratified. This long-running series shows no sign of losing steam. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Assoc. (Dec.)

Library Journal
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The celebrated Queen of Crime returns with her beloved Agatha Raisin on the trail of the murderer who carted elderly Mrs. Dunwiddy's body to the scrubby woods lining the road out of Mircester. That brings Agatha face to face with factory bosses and Russian officials (both unforthcoming) even as she broods over her growing feelings for her friend and sometime lover, Sir Charles Fraith.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A most unusual suspect helps a detective solve a case.The engineering firm Morrison's has hired Agatha Raisin and her assistant, Toni Gilmour, to investigate a case of industrial espionage after a mysterious fire at their factory in the Cotswolds. On their way home, they spot a disembodied leg in the woods and recognize its shoe and stockings as those of Mr. Morrison's secretary, Mrs. Dinwiddy. They call the police but feel like fools when the limb is revealed as fake. Many circumstances seem unusual back at Morrison's, where no one seems to do much and the factory that's supposed to be producing battery packs for electric cars turns out to be in Poland instead. Agatha's favorite employee at Morrison's turns out to be Wizz-Wazz, a donkey belonging to Morrison's wife, even though she attacks after Toni whacks her on the nose. After Mrs. Dinwiddy is found dead at the stable, the police are ready to write it off as an accidental death at the donkey's hooves. But Agatha's certain the obviously traumatized Wizz-Wazz is innocent. When Sir Charles Fraith, Agatha's longtime friend and sometime lover (The Dead Ringer, 2018, etc.), accompanies her to the factory, he points out actual horses' hooves that are being used as ashtrays. The fact that one of them has been scrubbed suspiciously clean suggests that Wizz-Wazz was framed. Agatha, devastated to learn of Charles' engagement to a wealthy, unattractive young woman, continues her investigation into what now seems to be a fake factory and consoles herself with a romance with Chris Firkin, who rents a space from Charles to work on converting cars to electricity. Agatha starts a PR campaign to save Wizz-Wazz while working on the difficult and ultimately dangerous case.As usual, Beaton conceals any number of surprises behind her trademark wry humor. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Agatha Raisin's detective agency is hired by Morrison's, an engineering firm, to investigate a possible case of industrial espionage. Employees and management are surprisingly secretive and uncooperative, and two incidents occur that are personally embarrassing to Agatha, leading her to believe that someone at the firm hopes to sabotage her efforts. When one of Morrison's employees dies, supposedly killed by the company owner's donkey, Wizz-Wazz, Agatha believes the donkey is innocent, and that the employee was murdered. While working on a nationwide campaign to save Wizz-Wazz from being put to death, Agatha pursues this line of investigation even after the death is ruled accidental and her firm is fired. On the personal front, Agatha has a new man in her life and is concerned she may lose a valued employee plus, her good friend Sir Charles Fraith has a secret no one wants to share with Agatha. Humor and the familiar cast of quirky characters make for a satisfying addition to the long-running series.--Sue O'Brien Copyright 2019 Booklist