The Potted Gardener (#3) by M.C. Beaton

Published: 15th July 1994 (print)/1st August 2010 (audio) Goodreads badge
Minotaur Books/Bolinda Audio
Pages: 256/4 hrs and 44 mins
Narrator: Penelope Keith
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Cosy Mystery
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Never say die. That’s the philosophy Agatha Raisin clings to when she comes home to cozy Carsely and finds a new woman ensconced in the affections of her attractive bachelor neighbour, James Lacey.

The beautiful newcomer, Mary Fortune, is superior in every way, especially when it comes to gardening. And Agatha, that rose with many thorns, hasn’t a green thumb to her name. With garden Open Day approaching, she longs for a nice juicy murder to remind James of her genius for investigation.

And sure enough, a series of destructive assaults on the finest gardens is followed by an appalling murder. Agatha seizes the moment and immediately starts yanking up village secrets by their roots and digging up all the dirt on the victim. Problem is, Agatha has an awkward secret of her own.

I really enjoyed this story. I’m new to the cosy mystery genre and while Agatha is a difficult character to like, once you read a few books you can adjust and settle in knowing it’s going to be that kind of book where she is self-centred, brash and rude but also with a quaint village and a murder so hopefully it balances out. It’s just a shame she’s the main character.

Credit to Beaton for her creativity with these murders, they haven’t been dull and uneventful and I really liked the motivation behind this murder. The mystery was satisfying and being a short book there wasn’t a lot of characters in play and misdirection going on but I enjoyed the different villagers and their unique personalities.

More village life is explored and with rituals like the garden open day more of Agatha’s personal infatuations and place in the village are described. There are humour and antics, not laugh out loud but there are scenes where Agatha behaves a certain way that is comical or the characters say something funny.

I have to say I did enjoy the quirky characters, I also loved James’ complete confusion about Agatha. He says he wants her but then is scared when she wants him. His reasoning is very basic and in a way he is as uninterested in Agatha as before, and whether we’re meant to root for her or pity Agatha for trying I’m not sure.

There is a cynical approach looking at how Agatha behaves and her motivations, but at the same time it’s easy to look through it at as her being scared of being humiliated and judged. She is no nonsense and loves praise and accolades and when this entire village is made up of strange characters acting strange and saying strange things it’s hard not to find it enjoyable.


You can purchase The Potted Gardener via the following

Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | WorderyAngus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Maureen Allenza
    Mar 19, 2021 @ 11:55:57

    I love Agatha Raisin! Yes, she’s coarse, rude and no nonsense! I didn’t like her at first, but after three books I loved her! She’s brilliant but also at the mercies of her insecurities. I won’t say too much, but Agatha has a chance at a really decent life with a good man! It broke my heart that she blew it.



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