Beloved New York Times bestseller M. C. Beaton's cranky, crafty Agatha Raisin—now the star of a hit T.V. show—is back on the case again in Hot to Trot.
When Private Detective Agatha Raisin learns that her friend and one-time lover Charles Fraith is to be married to a mysterious socialite, Miss Mary Brown-Field, she sees it as her duty to find out what she can about the woman. Coming up empty, Agatha—out of selfless concern for Charles, of course—does the only sensible thing she can think of: she crashes their wedding, which ends in a public altercation. Nursing a hangover the next morning, she gets a phone call from Charles, with even more disturbing news: Mary has been murdered.
Agatha takes on the case, and quickly becomes entrenched in the competitive equestrian world, in which Mary had been enmeshed—as well as the victim’s surprisingly violent past. Agatha finds no shortage of motives among a wide range of characters, from Mary's old riding competitors, to enemies from her schoolgirl days, to her surly father, who threatens Agatha to mind her own business. Meanwhile, the police department has its money on another suspect: Agatha. Will she track down the criminal in time, or end up behind bars herself?
The late Beaton's superb 31st outing for Agatha Raisin (after 2019's Beating About the Bush) finds the witty and irascible Agatha, who runs a private detective agency in the Cotswold village of Carsely, fuming about the upcoming nuptials of her friend and former lover, Sir Charles Fraith, to his "vile fianc e," Mary Brown-Field. No stranger to gate-crashing, Agatha shows up at an extravagant postwedding masked ball held at Charles's grand house, where a shoving match takes place between Agatha and the new lady of the manor. When Mary is later found dead in the estate's stables, both Agatha and Charles come under scrutiny by the police. Agatha's investigations take her into the competitive world of horse show-jumping, as well as on a couple of edifying trips to a ch teau in Bordeaux. This lively entertainment includes an elegantly amusing introduction by Beaton (1936 2019), outlining her road to becoming a writer, as well as an affectionate foreword by longtime friend and journalist Green, who collaborated on this book. Beaton's fans will sorely miss her. Correction: An earlier version of this review incorrectly noted this is the author's final book.