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Review ❤️ The Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton

October 9, 2017

the witches tree mc beaton

The Witches’ Tree continues the tradition in M. C. Beaton’s beloved Agatha Raisin mystery series—now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television.

Cotswolds inhabitants are used to inclement weather, but the night sky is especially foggy as Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, drive slowly home from a dinner party in their village of Sumpton Harcourt. They strain to see the road ahead—and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. Margaret Darby, an elderly spinster, has been murdered—and the villagers are bewildered as to who would commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, to tell the truth, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But Sumpton Harcourt is a small and private village, she finds—a place that poses more questions than answers. And when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation—and even her life. That the village has its own coven of witches certainly doesn’t make her feel any better…

Release Date: Oct 3, 2017
Series:  An Agatha Raisin Mystery
Publisher: Macmillan
Imprint: Minotaur Books
Price: $12.99


The newly appointed vicar of Sumpton Harcourt and his new wife discover a body hanging in a tree on their way home from a dinner party. The victim is an elderly woman with no known enemies. Private detective Agatha Raisin gets involved in the case, but finds it’s hard to get answers from anyone who may have useful information regarding the woman’s death. As the case goes on and more deaths occur, Agatha starts to doubt her own abilities and begins to wonder if local gossip could be true. Could a coven of witches really be behind the crimes? Agatha just can’t give up though and is determined to save her reputation and prevent a murderer from striking again.

The latest installment in the popular Agatha Raisin series has a good plot and includes all of the important characters from the series. The investigation has plenty of suspects to keep the reading guessing, even as the body count continues to increase. The inclusion of witches makes it a fitting story for October. I enjoy the atypical main character, Agatha, who is intelligent, outspoken sometimes to the point of being rude, extremely loyal to her friends, but unexpectedly vulnerable. Agatha’s weakness is she wants to find love and has a knack for going after the wrong men, in part because of insecurities going back to her childhood. The longer this series continues, the harder it gets to see Agatha set herself up for heartache, and it would be nice if she and Charles either finally admitted their feelings for each other or allowed each other to move on to find real love. It seems as if something more might be developing between the two in this book, but then things end up as usual with misunderstandings, assumptions, and unspoken feelings between the two.

The mystery itself is interesting, although Agatha does have to go in circles for a while in the investigation. The other members of her agency assist, but if you hadn’t read prior books in the series, you will not feel you get to know the other characters. I love Agatha and love the series, but something is lacking in this book. The narrative is often choppy and the dialogue is lacking depth. Although I enjoy spending time with Agatha and her friends, I was left disappointed by The Witches’ Tree and can only recommend it to those who have been following the series and want to keep up with what’s going on in Agatha’s life. New readers would be better off seeking out older books in the series to truly appreciate Agatha Raisin.

~ Christine

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