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Agatha Raisin has taken early retirement and she's left South Moulton Street for a cottage in the Cotswold village of Carsley. She's d have preferred one of the more romantic names but at least Carsley is off the tourist trail with all the problems that brings. Now the problem is settling into a different way of life - and Agatha has never done small talk or even being pleasant to people. The first move is to enter the village quiche-baking competition and the beginning of the campaign is taking the judge, Reginald Cummings-Browne, and his wife Vera out to dinner. She knows she's being ripped off at the pub in the next village but this is necessary and it's a good investment as she knows that she's going to win. How? Well, ''her'' quiche is coming from a Chelsea Bakery...
Everyone warns her. Mrs Cartwright always wins the quiche-baking competition, but that doesn't put Agatha off. Settling into the village is important. She's already poached her next-door neighbour's cleaner and upset one or two other people but that's par for the course for Agatha: she used to run a public relations company. The quiche has to be left at the competition venue overnight but when Agatha goes the next day, Mrs Cartwright has won and she stalks out without taking her quiche. Vera-Cummings Browne takes the quiche home and leaves a couple of slices for her husband. The next day he's found dead: he's been poisoned.

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