The Witches’ Tree

The Witches' TreeAuthor: M.C. Beaton

Series: Agatha Raisin

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Release Date: October 3, 2017

Reviewer: Jennifer S. Roman

Readers of the Agatha Raisin series find their heroine PR exec and private detective happy to be at a really interesting case instead of her of-late cases of divorces and lost cats.  This time, she is investigating a murder: a woman is found hanged in a tree called the Witches’ Tree.  Late at night, on the way home from a dinner party, the new vicar and his lovely wife are returning to their Cotswolds village when they see the elderly spinster hanging there. At first they think it is clearly a suicide, but as Agatha and her team do some investigating, they realize that it is actually a murder.  While investigating the death of this lady, several other people turn up dead, and an attempt is even made on Agatha’s life.  Doing her best to solve the mystery while contemplating hanging up her detective’s hat, Agatha finds trouble, adventure, and lots of buried secrets along the way.

Written as the next in a long Agatha Raisin series, The Witches’ Tree is the perfect mystery for Halloween time.  It has real-life witches, several deaths, and sinister characters at every turn.  The weather is cold and dreary, adding to the setting of the crimes.  Reading the book immediately puts one in the mood for a good blanket, a cup of hot beverage, and a few uninterrupted hours to sit back and enjoy an autumn day.  The characters provide constant banter and even romantic tension to keep things interesting.

While the book is interesting and fun, because of the large cast of characters and the intricate plotlines from previous stories, it is very difficult to keep track of everything.  At some points I had to stop and research who each person was so I could understand the part he or she played in the story.  For this reason, it is not necessarily a great stand-alone book.  Surely faithful readers of the Agatha Raisin series will know the many tertiary characters and will find the story and everyone to be delightful.

Other than the confusion I felt at trying to keep the characters and storylines straight, the story itself was fun and moved quickly.  I enjoyed the new characters as well as some who had been around for a while.  I would recommend this book to mystery lovers and to those who just love a good story with witty banter.  There were some sexual situations and profanity that may be off-putting, so this book is recommended for mature readers.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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