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Humorous Hair-Doings and Detecting with Sir Charles Fraith
on 30 July 2007
Agatha Raisin's love life is in a mess . . . even though she's found a great hair dresser, Mr. John (the wizard of Evesham). James Lacey is away and isn't staying in touch. Mr. John is quite delicious in Agatha's eyes, but the frightened reactions of other women to Mr. John's name make Agatha suspicious. Out on a date with Mr. John, she finds her resistance melting. But Sir Charles Fraith (whom she saved from death in Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley and with whom she had a one-night stand in Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist) also wants to date "Aggie" and talks her into a joint investigation of Mr. John. Soon, Agatha is extravagantly throwing money and herself at the wizard . . . but she has some benefit because her hair has never looked better.
All of this fun is interrupted when Mr. John is poisoned. Agatha and Charles up their investigations . . . and also draw danger to themselves. They also draw more than the usual ire from the police, including Bill Wong who is being watched very carefully lest he play favorites with Agatha.
This is a confused Agatha. She makes fewer good decisions than usual and is clearly adrift emotionally. For those who like to think of Agatha as the next thing to Super Woman, this book will be a disappointment. If you don't like hair-based humor, this book also won't excite you.
Part of the appeal in this book comes from knowing how attached some women get to a given hairdresser. Turning that sometime attachment into a humorous mystery story is a good idea.
Detecting with Sir Charles isn't quite as much fun as detecting with a friendly James Lacey. There are also fewer romantic dreams for Agatha to relate. Instead, she's starting to wonder if she's just a dowdy middle-aged woman, despite younger men paying attention. I felt sorry for Agatha, and that made me realize that the character development was working for me. Before this book, I thought of Agatha as an interesting character rather than as a character I related to. In this book, the barrier finally dropped for me.