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The village of Ancombe is in an uproar. A mineral water company has requested the right to bottle part of its spring every day. Part of the town thinks this is just what their economy needs, but the other part doesn't want the increase of people this would bring. Agatha Raisin agrees to come out of retirement to handle the public relations for the company. But then a body is found. What side of the issue was the victim on? Will this help or hurt Agatha's new job? And can she find the killer before the launch of the label is ruined?
This book was my introduction to Agatha and her friends. While she is a gruff woman with some vices I don't like, I found myself liking the character. The sub-plots in her personal life seemed a bit immature, but I found them funny and the insecurity they brought out made me like the character. My only real complaint was the plot. While it did eventually pick up speed, much of the first half seemed slow to me, with not much advancement in the story. But once things got moving, I was hooked and completely surprised by the ending.
This won't be my last case with Ms. Raisin. I look forward to catching up on the back-story of this lovable crank and seeing where she goes from here.
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on 23 June 1998
The Cotswold Village council is acrimoniously split as to allowing a company to bottle water from the town's historically famous spring. Acrimonious turns out to be not a sharp enough description as the corpse of the uncommitted council president is found inside the spring. Agatha Raisin, who has been hired by the Anacombe Water Company to provide public relations for the firm, decides to investigate. Her former fiancé, James Lacey also begins to inquire as to what happened to the president.
James and Agatha are irate with one another and refuse to help each other on their independent investigations. Although James has hurt her deeply, Agatha misses James, but she is seeing a much younger man. At the same time, her investigation seems to be going nowhere as everyone has an alibi. When a second murder occurs, Agatha realizes that she needs to uncover the identity of a killer, who will do anything to win the argument over the spring.
In the seventh Agatha raisin mystery, M.C. Beaton continues to keep her characters and their village fresh, especially as they struggle with the influx of major outside capitalism on a historical item. The story line is intriguing as the investigation by amateur sleuth extraodinaire Agatha is adroitly developed. This collection continues to be one of the best English cozy series on the market.

Harriet Klausner
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on 16 May 2016
Haven't read this book yet and anyway why would I spoil it for other buyers by revealing the storyline. If like me, you enjoy Agatha Raisin detective stories it's a treat to look forward to. The paperback book itself was purchased from blacksbargainbooks in new condition for less than half the UK publishers price, a great bargain and another M.C.Beaton book to add to my collection.
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on 24 March 2012
I find the Agatha Raisin series very hit and miss, and have to say that this story was very disappointing. A fault I find with the books is in the depiction of Agatha's character; I just don't accept that a strong, successful, self-made woman, who is the scourge of her PR rivals and the journalists and clients she deals with would become a blubbering, cowed wreck when faced with challenges in other aspects of her life. One minute she is presented to us as feisty and abrasive, the next she is intimidated by people she would previously have eaten for lunch. I can't believe this lady would be reduced to a shaking wreck when confronted by someone like Mary Owen or,indeed, any of the pantomime villains in the piece. As to her constant crying about James Lacey, again, I find her weakness in this matter not quite credible. I found her chasing off after him to north Cyprus a bit of a stretch in the last book, and am somewhat perplexed that even though he behaved badly and treated her cavalierly, she is still carrying a torch for him and frequently on the verge of tears when dealing with yet another example of his coldness.This woman didn't achieve the reputation she had as a bad-tempered, not to be crossed professional by bursting into tears every five minutes. Perhaps if the author made Lacey a more believable object of obsession and padded out his character somewhat the reader would be more willing to accept Agatha's on-going desire to be with him. As it is, he simply goes off in a huff and states (yet again) that he won't forgive her latest outburst. It's become boring and repetitive.
As to the plot, I thought it was far-fetched even for a 'cosy'. I know that we willingly suspend disbelief when reading such books, but this was unconvincing. Plus the characters were so unpleasant the reader is likely to wish them all murdered.
I have a few more to read in the series, and I hope that they are a return to the form the author shows in some of the other Agatha books.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
Agatha Raisin is the grumpy, vulnerable amateur sleuth in this series of books by MC Beaton. She is a retired PR expert, who in this book is lured back to represent a new water company.
She lives in a cosy Cotswold village. Although in this book you find not all the villages are quite as friendly as hers. The neighbouring village of Ancombe, which is the location of the spring from which the water company plans to draw its water, seems to be full of very unfriendly characters. When a member of the Parish Council is found dead in the spring, Agatha sets out to investigate.

Lots of the familiar characters from the earlier books reappear: Roy Silver, James, Mrs Bloxby and Bill Wong reappear.

It is a fun series. A modern twist on the likes of Miss Marple, and very nice to have an ageing, middle aged heroine.

This Audio version is read by Penelope Keith. Well what more can I say, her voice provides the perfect reassuring backdrop for the main narration. Then when she reads the voices you actually forget that it is just one actress speaking. For example, having read the books I had forgotten that only Bill Wong's father is Chinese, but listening to this tape it was very easy to distinguish his slightly "chinese" accent from his son and wife's "cotswold" ones.

I listened to this over a number of days of my "Mum's Taxi" service. It would be just as good on a long journey or the daily commute, there are lots of convenient stopping points. Alternatively it would be a great present for an older relative or someone recovering from illness.
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on 27 August 2006
M C Beaton has done it again. Pure genius. The continuing on/off romance between Agatha and James Lacey is intriguing. I am dying (no pun intended) to find out if they eventually get together. I started reading the Agatha Raisin books by accident but am absolutely hooked. I love fact that Agatha is so disliked yet liked by so many people. She's infectious!!
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First published in 1998, this is the seventh in M.C Beaton's long running series of detective stories to feature the acerbic modern day Miss Marple Agatha Raisin.

Agatha's life is in turmoil following her disastrous attempt at marrying James Lacey. At the same time she becomes aware of controversy in a local village surrounding a proposed commercialisation of the local spring water. After being offered a job as PR rep for the water company she takes a stroll down to the spring and discovers the body of a local councillor in it. Under the guise of trying to sort things out so as to avoid bad publicity for the firm that she is now representing, she is soon sticking her nose in.

This is a delightful read, propelled along by the central character of Agatha Raisin as she deals with life as well as death. Most of the book sees her trying to investigate the various nasty people who make up the local Parish Council, and the bitter and petty facets of their characters. While not investigating she is either dealing with the emotional fall out from her break up with James, which takes some unexpected turns.

The mystery itself takes a back seat to the tale of Agatha's trials and tribulations for most of the book, and the murderer is quite easy to guess from early on, but nonetheless this is a good read, filled with entertaining incident and a fair dollop of humour. 4 stars for the book.
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on 25 April 2016
A typical Agatha Raisin novella, entertaining, undemanding, obviously it sprang off the typewriter without much thought or finesse, but nevertheless, because it's so jolly and easy to read, a good buy. Agatha Raisin, like Hamish Macbeth before him, is for aficionados!
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on 11 April 2015
I love the Agatha Raidin series but found it was getting to expensive to keep buying audio cd. NOW Very upset. Have new kindle and bad eyesight so decided to download audio book. Paid £4.27 for this only to find it's NOT read by Penelope Keith a stated but by an automitan computer that sounds like a very sick satnat that has no idea when a sentence ends and just runs into the next. Good job it doesn't need to take a breath. Will only be downlaod freebees in future.
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VINE VOICEon 6 September 2013
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
Yet another cosy mystery my M C Beaton staring Agatha Raisin. These are not heavy weight fiction at all, they really are meant just to pass the time with an entertaining little fiction. As in previous Agatha Raisin books, things just seem to fall into Agatha's lap in order to solve the mystery she has been presented with, but to be honest who would want to read or listen to a story where the answers aren't so neatly tied up. I shan't go into the actual story as this is explained in the synopsis, to say any more than this would give the game away.

As usual my main complaint is with the accents, Penelope Keith is brilliant at certain accents but unfortunately is terrible at most of the accents in these books. Once you get over this and just listen to the words without trying to figure out where the person you're listening to comes from then it's very enjoyable.
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