Something Borrowed, Someone Dead

September 12, 2014 - Something Borrowed, Someone Dead (M.C. Beaton). Private detective Agatha Raisin tries to track down a cunning killer who seems to have an entire village under a spell.

The victim here is Gloria French, a woman who has a habit of borrowing things and then not giving them back. When she is mysteriously poisoned by a bottle of homemade elderberry wine, the head of the village council asks Agatha to investigate. But, Agatha and company find that everyone in this Cotswolds community has closed ranks. Information is hard to come by and Agatha's friend, Roy, is nearly added to the list of victims.

At almost 300 pages, this book is at least 50 pages too long, if not 100. As has become the norm with the author's Hamish Macbeth series, this one covers a span of months and involves side plots that serve no purpose other than to take up pages. I understand the need for character development, but this book seems to develop recurring characters in unnecessary and perhaps even un-character-like ways while losing focus on the actual solving of the crime.

After reading all 24 books in this series, I have a certain amount invested in the "lives" of the main characters. But, their lives continue to go in circles, and those circles seem to take up more and more ink, leaving less ink for an actual mystery.