#AgathaRaisin and the Potted Gardener (Agatha Raisin #3) by M.C. Beaton #AudiblePlus #BookReview

Agatha Raisin has a crush on James Lacey. In order to endear herself to him, she takes up gardening, hoping to participate with him in the prestigious Carsely Horticultural Contest. But as the contest approaches, plants are being mysteriously uprooted, poisoned, and burned. When the prime suspect turns up dead, Agatha must solve the murder mystery.

Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Audible) (AbeBooks) is a title I got for Free with my Audible Plus subscription. This is fantastic because so many people have recommended the series to me over the years and now I can catch up with relative ease. For my first review, see Introducing Agatha Raisin: The Quiche of Death/The Vicious Vet

Agatha is up to her old tricks again. In The Quiche of Death, she goes to London and buys a quiche to pass off as homemade for a baking contest in the town she’s newly retired to. In the Potted Gardener, Agatha conspires to make her garden the best in the village. When she puts out her young plants despite everyone telling her the frost will kill them and it does, she goes to plan B: hiring a nursery to surreptitiously plant her garden in the middle of the night, behind a new privacy fence she’s put up, all in exchange for six month’s worth of PR work for an old client.

Much like Jessica Fletcher’s Cabot Cove, Carsley is full of quirky and endearing characters. When a newcomer is quite literally planted to death, Agatha and her friend James investigate. It turns out that the woman was not universally liked as was originally thought. Agatha uncovers clues while shielding everyone except the police from her garden.

What makes the Agatha Raisin books a cozy comfort is the characters of the town. And while many times Agatha comes across an completely unlikable, she redeems herself in the end and you end up sympathizing with her. Her selection of the murderer comes out of nowhere, as no clues were given to the character until the end of the book, but that seems to be true of the cozy mystery genre in general.

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