Something Borrowed, Someone Dead (#24) by M. C. Beaton

Published: 17th September 2013 (print)/03 October 2013 (audio) Goodreads badge
Minotaur Books /Audible
Pages: 304/6 hrs and 19 mins
Narrator: Penelope Keith
Format: Audiobook
Genre: Cosy Mystery
★   ★   ★ – 3 Stars

Incomer Gloria French is at first welcomed in the Cotswold village of Piddlebury. She seems like a do-gooder par excellence, raising funds for the church and caring for the elderly. But she has a bad habit of borrowing things and not giving them back, so when she is discovered dead, folk in the village don’t mourn her passing too much.

Parish councillor Jerry Tarrant hires Agatha Raisin to track down the murderer. But the village is creepy and secretive and the residents don’t seem to want Agatha to find who the murderer is. Then Agatha’s investigations are hampered by the upset of discovering that her ex, James Lacey, has fallen in love with her young protégé.

The shift between these books that can go from horribly written to one that is actually decent is amazing. Decent for Agatha Raisin that is. There must be something in the water in the Cotswalds that make people go from calm to threatening death upon people at the slightest inconvenience.

The enjoyment of this book comes from the murder plotline and less so of the writing or extra content. Agatha’s obsession with her figure and the judgement towards other people are eye rolling and typical, but the fact Beaton managed an interesting premise for a murder and didn’t drive me up the wall reading it to execute it was something of a miracle.

There’s a lot of character action and conversations to suss out motive and intent, things happen that actually connect to the investigation and the side stories of characters when we get them are woven in a way that they still feel connected to the main story. There are throwaway lines that show time passing, Agatha taking holidays etc, but it keeps returning to interviewing people about the murder. The character interactions are more entertaining than reading long sections of narration which is probably why this was a better story than most.

There’s a couple murders in this one, the original and the second one that usually happens during the investigation of the first, typically after someone proclaims they know who the murderer is and then dies before telling anyone. The whole team gets involved and we see various avenues of investigation which is a change from quick mentions and having them behind the scenes and on other cases, even the non-detective gang help in their own ways.

The solution to having to extend the stories out this time involves having the main story for most of the book and then having a secondary mini plot afterwards to fill in time. The entire last hour was a side story that was what happens after the murderer is caught and it was a strange addition but I guess it’s a change to see what happens to the culprit and not just what new thing Agatha is up to.

There is also an unexpected addition about Toni that is tacked on at the end but given the haphazard nature of these books it’s easier to simply go along with it at this stage. The final pages feel like the start of a new book again as it introduces a whole other storyline but as a weird cliff hanger I guess it’s meant to lure you into the next one but with no real stakes, just pushing your curiosity about what’s going to happen next.

You can purchase Something Borrowed, Someone Dead via the following

QBD | Booktopia | Book Depository

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson

 Fishpond | Amazon | Amazon Aust | Audible

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