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NO WEDDING, SEVERAL FUNERALS
on 25 July 2010
A dramatic start. Agatha's wedding to James is wrecked by the sudden appearance of drunkard husband Jimmy, he not seen for thirty years. In front of all, Agatha threatens to kill him - later to be arrested when he is found dead.
In this fifth book the usual ingredients are shaken up a bit: Agatha's cottage sold; nice DS Bill Wong infatuated with ambitious DC Maddie Hurd; Agatha and James drifting apart and frequently sparring. Simply to clear their own names, they uneasily join forces to try solve the murder - only for several they question to be dead within hours. Not for the first time, undertakers are going to be busy....
An enjoyable, involving first half. Sadly the novel then begins to rely on creaking contrivances (oh dear, the two resorting to another totally unconvincing break-in!) and increasingly ludicrous aspects - not least a heavily disguised Agatha slumming it with London's down-and-outs. On the plus side are further glimpses of Agatha's vulnerability. Behind that tough facade is someone desperately lonely, longing for true love, the chance to settle down and to be happy.
Entertaining enough, but perhaps not as greatly as many would wish.