Pushing Up Daisies
By M.C. Beaton
Constable

With autumn coming, you can practically smell the crime fiction hitting the shelves. The guts. The DNA samples. The alcoholic middle-aged men subsisting on a diet of 1970s rock and women half their age.

For more than two decades, M.C. Beaton has provided a cheerful, intelligent and gently spiky alternative to the blood and thunder, selling truckloads of copies of her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin series. A public relations guru in a former life, Raisin is opinionated, impatient and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. These include land developer Lord Bellington, who had planned to turn her village allotments into a housing estate.

Having failed to make the miserly curmudgeon see the error of his ways, Raisin – like many others in Carsley village – is not entirely unhappy at news of his poisoning. The question does remain: is one of those celebrating a murderer? The police suspect Bellington’s son and heir, Damian, who promptly hires Raisin to clear his name.

Add in a handsome rival in the detecting stakes and a second victim found in the allotments, and you have as enjoyable a 192 pages as can be imagined.