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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Audiobook Review: Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton

TITLE: Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener
SERIES: Agatha Raisin, Book #3
AUTHOR: M.C. Beaton 
NARRATOR: Penelope Keith
PUBLICATION DATE: November 1, 2012 (first published 1994)
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 4 hrs and 45 mins
GENRE: Mystery
When Agatha returns home after a sojourn in the capital, she finds a new woman ensconced in the affections of her attractive bachelor neighbor James Lacey. The newcomer, Mary Fortune, is superior to Agatha in every way, especially when it comes to gardening. With Carsely Open Day approaching, Agatha longs for some fascinating crime to remind James of her genius for investigation and to distract him from Mary. Soon a series of assaults on the finest gardens is followed by murder when Mary herself is discovered buried upside down in a terracotta pot...

I received this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

In the third installment of the Agatha Raisin series, Agatha has just returned from a lengthy holiday. At the end of the previous book, Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet, Agatha had given a rude gesture to her neighbour, James Lacey, after imbibing a little too much. The next morning, Agatha felt rather ashamed of her behaviour and wanted to escape the embarrassment she felt whenever she thought of what she had done. Upon her return, Agatha learns that a ravishing divorcee, Mary Fortune, has moved into the village and has captured the attention of every man in town! She seethes with jealousy when she finds out that James has been taking Mary out for romantic dinners.

Not only is Mary Fortune beautiful and fit (with a completely unlined face that can only be the result of a facelift, in Agatha’s opinion), she has a green thumb and is a great cook. In an effort to not be outdone by the newcomer, Agatha has a greenhouse delivered and decides that she is going to raise seedlings to prove that she is just as adept at gardening. However, Agatha doesn’t heed Mary’s warnings not to plant the seedlings too early because of a frost warning. She wants to show off her gardening skills to James Lacey and everyone else in the village but, alas, Mary was right. After spending a long day planting all of her seedlings in her flower beds, Agatha awakens to snow which kills her tender plants. Refusing to admit that she was wrong, she resorts to her scheming ways.

Mr. Wilson of Pedmans, the man to whom she sold her advertising firm, wants to woo Agatha to work for him for a six-month stint. He uses the influence of Roy, Agatha’s former assistant, to try to win her over. Roy gives Agatha an offer that she cannot refuse. One of the firm’s clients owns a plant nursery, and he convinces Agatha to build a high fence around her garden so that no one can see what she is growing. Then, on the night before the villager’s gardens are open for show, Roy will come with his client’s employees to plant luscious blooms that will be the envy of everyone! He sweetens the pot by promising Agatha that the flowers will be planted at no charge to her in exchange for her signature on the six-month contract. Since Agatha believes that her chances with James Lacey are shot, she feels that she has nothing (and no one!) keeping her in Carsley for the winter and agrees.

Before Carsley Open Day, villagers are horrified to find that their gardens have been defiled. Who would do such a thing? Agatha has another mystery on her hands but, before she can get to the bottom of it, someone turns up dead.

I don’t think that anyone else could get away with the shenanigans that Agatha pulls. One of the reasons why I love this series is because Agatha is such a hoot! She seems to be at her best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) when she is with Roy. The two of them always wind up in some sort of a jam.

Just when you think that Agatha and James are on the verge of a blossoming relationship, it falls apart! The two of them can’t seem to get on the same wavelength. Their ups and downs are comical, and it will be interesting to see whether they can get it right.

Aggie’s back! Narrator Penelope Keith has returned in this installment, and I have fallen in love with Agatha Raisin all over again! The previous book was performed by a different narrator, and it just wasn’t the same for me. She didn’t have Aggie’s verve and attitude that I have come to love. In the words of Beaton, her “pugnaciousness” was missing. Not so with Penelope Keith! Her narration is unmatched, and it feels like an old friend has returned.


5 stars!! I loved it, and you should definitely read it! A big thanks to AudioGO and Audiobook Jukebox for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as: 

#8 for my 2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#8 for my 2013 Read-a-Latte Challenge
#3 for my 2013 Quick Fix Challenge


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