Dead Ringer
by Beaton, M. C.

Agatha Raisin investigates the murder of an identical twin and co-manager of Thirk Magna's bell-ringer team, a demise that questions the innocence of bullied co-workers and a fed-up lawyer. Part of a New York Times best-selling series on which the hit TV series is based. TV tie-in.

M. C. Beaton has been hailed as the "Queen of Crime" (The Globe and Mail). In addition to her New York Times and USA Today bestselling Agatha Raisin series-now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television-Beaton is the author of the Hamish Macbeth series and four Edwardian mysteries. Born in Scotland, she currently divides her time between the English Cotswolds and Paris.

Beaton is a very canny cozy writer. Her Agatha Raisin series, in which this is the twenty-ninth installment, is set in a quintessentially cozy landscape: the tiny villages of the English Cotswolds. There are the requisite Norman churches, tea at the vicarage, and intervillage rivalries and tensions that reliably boil over into murder. Her latest is especially cozy, involving a group of church bell ringers, one of whom is found in the belfry with her head bashed in. The victim is one of a set of identical twins who had ruled the village and who fought over the attention of the sexy and possibly psychopathic bishop, whose girlfriend vanished, mysteriously, some years before. Agatha investigates both the current and the cold case and falls prey herself to the bishop's scary charms. Beaton is very satisfying on setting, a bit over the top with plot, and too forced when it comes to comedy (contrived hissy fits and confrontations that seem far too staged). Still, for Agatha Raisin fans, this series never loses its appeal. Readers drawn to the setting may also want to try Katie Fforde's nonmystery Cotswold novels. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

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