Winter Parva, a traditional Cotswolds village next door to Carsely, has decided to throw a celebratory hog roast to mark the beginning of the winter holiday festivities and Agatha Raisin has arrived with friend and rival in the sleuthing business, Toni, to enjoy the merriment. But, as the spit pig is carried towards the bed of fiery charcoal, Agatha - and the rest of the village - realise that things aren't as they seem...
Very quickly it transpires that the spit pig is in fact Gary Beech, a policeman not much loved in Winter Parva. And although Agatha has every intention of leaving the affair to the police, she rapidly changes her mind when she finds out Gary's ex-wife has hired Toni to investigate. Cantankerous and competitive as Agatha is, she has to now join the fray and try and solve the case herself!
Praise for M C Beaton's Agatha Raisin series:
'I know I once vowed to read only Agatha Christie for a year but I cheated. My No. 1 mistress, M.C. Beaton and her Agatha Raisin whodunits. Agatha is like Miss Marple with a drinking problem, a pack a day habit and major man lust. In fact, I think she may be living my dream life' Entertainment Weekly.
'Once again M. C. Beaton has concocted an amusing brew of mystery and romance that will keep her fans turning the pages' Publisher's Weekly.
'Pure entertainment' The Guardian.
At the start of Beaton's entertaining 22nd Agatha Raisin mystery (after 2010's Busy Body), Agatha has a run-in with an overzealous policeman, Gary Beech, who tickets her for basically nothing on a clogged road outside her Cotswolds village of Carsely. After Beech tickets her a second time for slightly exceeding the speed limit, Agatha announces in the village store: "I'd like to kill him.... May he roast slowly over a spit in hell!" When Beech turns up dead, his decapitated body substituted for the pig that was supposed to be roasting over a fire as part of a post-Christmas celebration on a neighboring village's green, Agatha falls under suspicion. Meanwhile, she must cope with, among other personal problems, uncertainty about the men in her life, including her ex-husband. That even in a heavy fog those basting the "pig" fail to notice that it's a human being may strike some as less than credible.