Agatha Raisin: Hot to Trot by M C Beaton and R W Green

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Agatha Raisin: Hot to Trot by M C Beaton and R W Green

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The plot is by M C Beaton, the writing by R W Green and it makes for a very good read if cosy crime is your bag. A thoroughly-enjoyable, one-sitting read. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: October 2020
Publisher: Constable
ISBN: 978-1472127013

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Raisin Investigations had quite a bit of work on hand. The chairman of Philpott Electronics was concerned about his managing director, Harold Cheeseman, who had apparently returned from Australia because his wife did not like it there. This was unusual, as his wife had died before Cheeseman went to Australia. Then there was the Chadwick divorce: Chadwick was convinced that his wife, Sheraton, was seeing another man. Mr Gutteridge wanted Raisin Investigations to instal listening devices in the staff canteen: he wanted to know what the staff were saying about him and his secretary, who was from Geneva. Apparently, the staff called her The Swiss Roll.

Then there was the murder.

Agatha's old friend and former lover, Sir Charles Fraith, has married a rich heiress, Mary Darlina Brown-Field. It was difficult to see why as there seemed to be little love lost between the two until you realise what an injection of capital would do to his ailing finances. It was at the ball arranged to celebrate the marriage that the murder happened and Sir Charles was arrested. Inspector Wilkes was convinced that Agatha had been his accomplice. Agatha knew that she had nothing to do with the death - and Charles had been with her when it happened. Now she has to find out who is guilty before she and Charles are stitched up for the murder.

M C Beaton - Marion Chesney - died in December 2019 but before then she had been discussing the characters and plotlines with family friend, R W Green. Green took on the task of actually writing the book, so it's plot by Beaton, writing by Green. How did he do?

Actually, he did surprisingly well. Marion Chesney liked to keep her stories moving along briskly, having fun, travelling light, unencumbered by excessively ornate prose. For me, that's the perfect definition of cosy crime and Hot to Trot is probably as good an example as you're likely to find.

We have the usual staff at Raisin Investigations. Toni Gilmour is still the girl Friday, although she's annoying Agatha just a little. Toni seems to be getting more beautiful as she gets older, whilst Agatha is just getting ... older. Patrick Mulligan, the retired policeman, Simon Black and Mrs Freedman, Agatha's secretary are all around, but this story revolves around Agatha, Toni and Roy Silver. Roy's going to learn to ride, which will have quite an impact on the way he walks. Agatha is completely unchanged: you don't always like her, but you always want her to come out on top.

The plot is good and even when you know who actually did the killing, stay on the edge of your seat as there are plenty of twists yet to come. I read the book in one sitting and loved every moment of it. Will there be more books? Somehow I doubt it as we've lost Beaton's excellent talent for producing a good plot, but it will perhaps be a relief for the Cotswolds, where the murder rate will return to a more nortmal level. It always saddens me that when an author dies, her characters die too. It was good to see Agatha and Raisin Investigations have another outing.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

When you've read all the Agatha books, you can start on Hamish Macbeth. If you'd like to read something which ios just a little on the serious side of cosy crime, try The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths.

M C Beaton's Agatha Raisin Books in Chronological Order

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