"Busy Body," by M. C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin has never been one for enforced holiday cheer, but her friendly little village of Carsely has always prided itself on its traditional Christmas festivities. But this year the bells will not be ringing out Silent Night as Mr John Sunday, an officer with the Cotswold Health and Safety Board, has chosen Christmas as the time to crack down what he sees as gross misconduct by every man, woman, and child in the vicinity.
The village shop is told it can no longer have wooden shelves which have been there since the time of Queen Victoria 'in case someone is inflicted with a splinter.' The village school is ordered to leave lights on at night 'to prevent unauthorized intruders from tripping in the dark.' And children are warned to not play with 'counterfeit banknotes' after passing around toy money in the playground.
But finally Mr Sunday goes too far when he rules that there cannot be a Christmas tree atop the church tower this year. Soon after the decree and just before Christmas, Agatha is sipping a cup of tea and trying to stay awake as minute by minute of the Carsely Ladies Society meeting at the vicarage drones on when a sudden scream wakes her from her stupor. The ladies rush out of the building and into the garden to find Sunday lying face down in the petunias, very much dead. Agatha is instantly on the case, but with so many people having threatened the life of the victim, it's almost impossible to know where to start!
I actually read this book before "The Potted Gardener," and as this is the 21st book in the series, things had gone forward from the 3rd book. I enjoyed this book as it was one of those books where you say "it could only happen in a country village." The characters are so true to life and if you live in a small village you probably know one or two of them first hand.
The story keeps up a good pace and you are left guessing as to who did what and when. It also proves what a small world it is.......you have to read the book to see what I mean by that.
Stars out of 5 : 4 fun book, easy read and it will keep you entertained....oh and Agatha still seems to be a grumpy old thing!!!