The Vicious Vet (#2) by M.C. Beaton

Published: 15th July 1994 (print)/1st July 2012 (audio) Goodreads badge
Minotaur Books/Bolinda Audio
Pages: 256/5 hrs and 13 mins
Narrator: Penelope Keith
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Cosy Mystery
★   ★   ★   ★ – 4 Stars

Retired PR boss Agatha Raisin is enjoying life in her pretty Cotswold village of Carsely. It even seems likely that the attractive new vet, Paul Bladen, has taken a shine to her. But before romance can blossom, Paul is killed in an accident with Lord Pendlebury’s horse. Only the circumstances are rather suspicious.

Agatha decides she must once more play amateur investigator. And this cloud has a silver lining – she can persuade her usually stand-offish neighbour, James Lacey, to become her partner in the quest. As usual, Agatha is quite prepared to rush in, heedless of the lurking menace to both James and herself.

I liked the mystery and the story was a nice length, a good mix of personal and mystery going on. Agatha’s obsession with her appearance and looking youthful make her act like a fool and do stupid things but that is who she is. Her abrasiveness and her rudeness are passed over by other people as she still manages to start investigating with James about the latest murder.

Beaton shows Agatha as having keen observational skills and great mind for detail and deduction which is how she manages to work out why these murders happen. It’s like the old stories where the police are incompetent and the solo amateur can solve the crime except the police aren’t entirely inept here and it’s more Agatha’s nosiness and desire to solve the mystery.

We see more of village life now that Agatha has settled in and we get to know a few of the villagers and Agatha’s relationships with them. We also see her growing infatuation with her neighbour James Lacey, but he doesn’t seem interested. The other characters are what you’d expect from a quaint village: vicar’s wives and ladies society members, as well as curmudgeon estate owners and other minor characters who pop in for the one or two lines and then disappear. Most are mentioned in passing but people like Mrs Bloxby and James are gradually becoming more established as key characters as they help Agatha adjust to village life and solve the murders around her.

Agatha is definitely a person you have to grow to tolerate, she is unlikable and annoying as a character but if that’s the way Beaton is portraying her then so be it. Her contrast to the other characters and people in the village show how much of an outsider she is but she tries to fit in in her own way which you have to give her credit for.

You can purchase The Vicious Vet via the following

 Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

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