The Witches’ Tree continues the tradition in M. C. Beaton's beloved Agatha Raisin mystery series—now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television.
Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead—and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered—and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.
Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds—a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation—and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn't make her feel any better...
In bestseller Beaton's disappointing 28th Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2016's Pushing Up Daisies), Rory Harris, a vicar recently arrived from London, and his beautiful wife, Molly, are driving home from a dinner party to the Cotswolds village of Sumpton Harcourt when they spot a body hanging from what is known as the witches' tree. The body turns out to be that of elderly Margaret Darby, a church helper. Did the poor woman commit suicide, Molly wonders, or was she murdered? Agatha, who heads her own detective agency, takes a break from obsessing about her dismal personal life and her endless quest for romance and sex to befriend Rory and Molly and to look into what is ruled a case of homicide. More murders follow. Agatha's friend Sir Charles Fraith, a selfish and manipulative man who drops in and out of her life, assists on occasion. For large chunks of the book, it's possible to forget that there are unsolved murders and wallow instead in the frustrations of a smart but rather pathetic middle-aged woman.