This is book number 32 in the Agatha Raisin Mysteries series.
Beloved New York Times bestseller M. C. Beaton's cranky, crafty Agatha Raisin—the star of her own hit T.V. series—is back on the case again in Down the Hatch.
Private detective Agatha Raisin, having recently taken up power-walking, is striding along a path in Mircester Park during her lunch break when she hears a cry for help. Rushing over, she finds an elderly couple, Mr. and Mrs. Swinburn, in the middle of the green—with the body of an old man lying at their feet.
The man, who the coroner determines died by poisoning, was known as "the Admiral," a gardener notorious for his heavy drinking, and Chief Inspector Wilkes writes the death off as an accident caused by the consumption of weedkiller stored in a rum bottle. Agatha is not convinced that anyone would mistake weedkiller for rum but carries on with her work at Raisin Investigations, until she receives an anonymous tip that the Admiral’s death was no accident.
Local gossip points to the Swinburns themselves as the killers, spurred by a feud at the club where they, as well as the Admiral, were members. Distraught at this accusation, they turn to Agatha to clear their name, and she takes the case—despite the warnings of Chief Inspector Wilkes.
Agatha encounters one suspicious character after another, becoming further enmeshed in the Admiral’s own dark and shady past. And when she's run off the road, narrowly escaping with her life, and then another attack occurs, it becomes clear that someone doesn’t want the case closed—and will stop at nothing to prevent Agatha from solving it.
M. C. Beaton (1936-2019), the “Queen of Crime” (The Globe and Mail), was the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Agatha Raisin novels -- the basis for the hit show on Acorn TV and public television -- as well as the Hamish Macbeth series and the Edwardian Murder Mysteries featuring Lady Rose Summer. Born in Scotland, she started her career writing historical romances under several pseudonyms and her maiden name, Marion Chesney.
In 2006, M.C. was the British guest of honor at Bouchercon.
"Trademark Beaton." —Booklist (starred)
"Green...ably continues the adventures of private detective Agatha Raisin, thorn in the side of conservative Cotswold society, in the diverting 32nd installment of this bestselling series...The prose sparkles as usual."
"Superb." —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Hot to Trot
"Once you meet Agatha Raisin, you'll keep coming back." —New York Journal of Books
"M.C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery." —The New York Times Book Review
"Beaton has a winner in the irrepressible, romance-hungry Agatha." —Chicago Sun-Times
"Beaton's Agatha Raisin series just about defines the British cozy." —Booklist
"Every new Agatha Raisin escapade is a total joy." —Ashley Jensen, star of the Agatha Raisin TV series
"Winning....Cozy fans with a taste for the silly and the offbeat will be gratified. This long-running series shows no signs of losing steam." —Publishers Weekly on Beating About the Bush
"As usual, Beaton conceals any number of surprises behind her trademark wry humor." —Kirkus Reviews on Beating About the Bush