As the Pig Turns

August 30, 2012 - As the Pig Turns (M.C. Beaton). Agatha Raisin returns for entry #22 in the continuing British cozy series. I have to say, they're turning a bit formulaic.

The story begins in winter and Agatha getting a traffic citation from a nit-picky cop. Soon after, Agatha and her co-workers attend a festival in a nearby town, and Agatha discovers that said cop has been dismembered and his torso is roasting over an open fire. Agatha is questioned because of her prior run-in with the victim, but she's soon cleared and sets out to find out who killed the copper and why.

The investigation stretches over a period of several months, during which time Agatha makes two separate trips to the US. Also during this time, familiar characters flit in and out of the picture, including her friends Roy and Sir Charles, her ex-husband, James, and Simon, a former protégé. Lost in their continuing plotlines is the main plot of this particular book, which I don't think was all that strong to start with. None of the people connected to the murder is particularly likeable, so I didn't much care why the crooked cop got killed.

The book finally comes to an end with an overly long epilogue that finishes by introducing yet another love interest for Agatha. And, if you read the look ahead to the next book, you find out that this love interest doesn't stick around long.

The format of muddled mystery dragged out over an extended period of time seems to have become the standard for this series. Unfortunately, it's not a very high standard and it's getting really old really fast.