Drop a harrowing murder in her neighborhood and Agatha Raisin puts her “pugnacious face” and “bearlike eyes” to good use. This hilarious, mystery-solving heroine is competitive to a fault.
But her unattractive character flaws only endear her to the villagers. She has a tendency to cheat in contests. She once bought a cake from a bakery to enter in a baking contest. She got caught and the locals went on loving her. In The Potted Gardener, part of the Agatha Raisin mystery series; she hires a nursery to deliver a pre-planted garden to compete in the village garden tour. They still love her because there’s something good in this plain, middle-aged, stocky woman.
Agatha is a successful public relations executive who has retired to the village of Carsley in the English Cotswolds. She has a teenage crush on her handsome, retired military neighbor, James Lacey. To her chagrin, another recently arrived outsider to the village has claimed James’ attention. She has no hope of competing with glamorous Mary Fortune who has a figure to die for, glorious blond hair and talent in gardening, baking and all things social. She seems to be everything that Agatha is not. Our heroine suspects a face lift, but reluctantly decides to give up any hope of catching James’ eye and befriends the perplexing Mary.
After a slew of vicious village garden desecrations, James and Agatha find Mary Fortune ghoulishly murdered in her own conservatory. Even though the local police warn Agatha not to get involved, her competitiveness and pride require her to solve the puzzle of Mary Fortune. This is a quick and amusing read. Who knew gardening could be so dangerous.