Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet–M.C. Beaton

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It’s been a while since I reviewed one of this series. I’m re-reading the series now, so you might see more of these. This is a cozy mystery series, following the adventures of Agatha Raisin, an abrasive former PR consultant who took early retirement in the Cotswolds and continues to stumble into murders.

In this book, she returns from vacation to find that there’s a new, handsome vet in town. Being single and perpetually on the hunt for a man, she trundles her cat along in there, and discovers that he’s not that great of a vet, he’s a little rough with the cat, but she brushes it off because he’s so handsome and charming.

He takes her out to dinner and tells her he wants to start an animal hospital and is raising money for that cause. She thinks she’ll give him a small amount, but never gets to it. Before she can see him again, he’s found dead, of an apparent accident. He was about to perform a surgery on a racehorse, and the paralytic injection got him instead, killing him more or less instantly.

She can’t help but notice that a lot of women came to his funeral, and that several of them were very bitter about him, including one woman who had given him her cat for treatment and he had decided unilaterally to put it down, and his ex-wife, who hated him, and several women who had given him large amounts of money fro the animal hospital.

It turns out that he’s a compulsive gambler, and had been raising money for the supposed animal hospital for years, with no sign of any actual hospital to show for it. His partner had been propping him up for years, and was the beneficiary of his estate. His ex-wife had lost all her money because of his gambling. And there was, of course, a long line of angry women and some disgruntled husbands who were upset with him about the money.

Agatha–along with her handsome neighbor James Lacey–investigates the crime, until as usual, she gets too close and her cats get kidnapped. She traces the clues back to the perpetrator and nearly dies before Lacey and the police arrive to save her.

These are fun books. As with many series the earlier books are the best. I like Agatha Raisin, despite her prickliness and man-eating ways, I think she’s a realistic and sympathetic character. I suppose the popularity of these books says that I’m not alone. I hear there’s a TV series of these books but I haven’t seen it and can’t speak for the quality of it or the lack thereof.

 

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