Dishing the Dirt–MC Beaton

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This is the new Agatha Raisin book. I’ve read them all and this one is pretty solid.

There were a few shaky books in the series, with glaring continuity errors and other issues, but Agatha’s back on form now.

In this book, we pick up where we left off in the last book, with the arrival of a new therapist to Carsely.

This new therapist is, basically, evil. AND poorly qualified, with degrees in massage therapy and similar things, but not, apparently, any actual mental health education or training.

She digs into Agatha’s past and discovers her poor childhood, which she spreads throughout the village. Agatha threatens to kill her if she doesn’t stop, and then someone kills her.

Thus, Agatha and her band of detectives investigate the crime to try to get Agatha off the hook. They discover that she lied to trap a man into marriage to get away from her life as a hooker in Chicago. And basically, everyone hates her.

One thing that was startling in this book is the body count. Compared to the previous Agatha Raisin books where the body count was generally low (three or less) there are something like seven deaths in this book. Madness. MADNESS I TELL YOU!

Agatha has finally moved on from her obsessive love of her ex-husband James Lacey, which is nice, but is still jumping at any man who looks at her. I’m glad to see some growth in this character but would like to see more. It’s been a lot of books, I’d like to see real character growth and not just the same basic story and the same basic devices over and over.

In summary, this book is exactly what you’d expect if you’ve read these before, except for more murders. Recommended for Agatha fans who have some time to kill or a strong completionist instinct.

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