Love, Lies and Liquor

January 22, 2008 - Love, Lies and Liquor (M.C. Beaton). Agatha Raisin goes on holiday with her ex, James Lacey. They check into The Palace in a rundown resort town called Snoth-on-Sea. The Palace turns out to be rather like the Hotel California - Agatha tries time and again to check out but finds that she can't really leave.

James took Agatha to Snoth because he recalls it being the site of many happy and sunny summer vacations during his boyhood. Years later, the charm is gone, the weather is crap and the fellow guests are crass. In fact, Agatha is overheard threatening to murder one of them, a woman named Geraldine Jankers. When Jankers later turns up strangled with Agatha's scarf, Agatha is a suspect. She's cleared soon enough but is now determined to solve the case.

Agatha and the staff from her private detective agency snoop around Snoth and the surrounding area. James drifts in and out, unable to understand why previously devoted Agatha is resisting his efforts to rekindle their romance. Agatha's friends, Sir Charles Fraith and Roy Silver, also show up here and there.

More murders occur, Agatha is kidnapped and held and gunpoint, and there are various other attempts on her life. Eventually, all the bad guys are either dead or otherwise punished, and Agatha returns to her beloved Carsely.

For a book that's only about 240 pages long, it sure took me a long time to get through. The plot seemed to be a mish-mash of smaller plots strung together, and none was very interesting. Other than Agatha and the cast of recurring characters, the people involved in the plot didn't have many redeeming qualities. Much like Snoth-on-Sea, they seemed cold and dreary and I didn't much care how they happened to meet their end. I was just glad when the whole thing was over.