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Down the Hatch: Agatha Raisin #32    by M. C. Beaton & R. W. Green order for
Down the Hatch
by M. C. Beaton
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In the Foreword to Down the Hatch (thirty-second in M. C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin series!), Rod Green shares his experiences in working with the author. She sadly passed away in 2019, but he is maintaining her legacy and making her characters live on. He's done well with Agatha, who is just as feisty as ever. She has her frailties but remains a true friend with a generous heart.

The episode opens with Agatha on a lunchtime power walk. She hears a scream and finds elderly Mr. and Mrs. Swinburn, with a grey-bearded body at their feet. The corpse turns out to be that of Harry Nelson, called the Admiral at the Mircester Crown Green Bowling Club - a heavy drinker who alienated many.

Though DCI Wilkes is quick to label the scene that of an accident (caused by drinking weed killer in a rum bottle), Agatha receives an anonymous tip that it was murder - and she's off to the races. She and her ex-lover James Lacey also investigate illegal sales of exotic species (quokkas, white lion etc.) together.

There's another murder and Agatha barely escapes with her own life after being run off the road. Yet, as always, she solves all her cases. She and James make quite a team this time - where might this lead?

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