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The Deadly Dance

Cover of The Deadly Dance

The Deadly Dance

Agatha Raisin Mystery Series, Book 15

Celebrating 20 Years of Agatha Raisin—Brand-New Bonus Story Included!

Bossy, impulsive, and unlucky in love, the all-too-human Agatha Raisin has proved to be a surprisingly effective—-and endearing—-amateur sleuth. But can Agatha make it as a private investigator? After getting mugged on vacation, in what she will always think of as the Paris Incident, she decides to find out.

Agatha soon learns that running her own detective agency in the Cotswolds is not quite like starring in a Raymond Chandler movie. Instead of dames in distress with big shoulder pads, her clients are ladies with missing cats and a man whose son has run off with his car. Agatha even worries that she might be outclassed by her sixty-seven-year-old secretary, Emma Comfrey.
But then wealthy divorcée Catherine Laggat-Brown walks in with their first "real" case. Mrs. Laggat-Brown's daughter has received a death threat, and when Agatha thwarts an attack on the girl at a dinner dance, she recognizes an opportunity to show what Raisin Investigations can do. Even better, the case gives her a chance to reunite with her long-absent friend, Sir Charles Fraith. As they scour the Cotswolds in search of leads, Charles' insights prove invaluable and his charms irresistible, leading poor Emma to fall madly in love with him.

As ever, Agatha bumbles her way through the case, trying her friends' patience and flirting shamelessly with the chief suspect. Will she put her tiny agency on the map, or has even the outrageous Agatha finally bitten off more than she can chew?

Celebrating 20 Years of Agatha Raisin—Brand-New Bonus Story Included!

Bossy, impulsive, and unlucky in love, the all-too-human Agatha Raisin has proved to be a surprisingly effective—-and endearing—-amateur sleuth. But can Agatha make it as a private investigator? After getting mugged on vacation, in what she will always think of as the Paris Incident, she decides to find out.

Agatha soon learns that running her own detective agency in the Cotswolds is not quite like starring in a Raymond Chandler movie. Instead of dames in distress with big shoulder pads, her clients are ladies with missing cats and a man whose son has run off with his car. Agatha even worries that she might be outclassed by her sixty-seven-year-old secretary, Emma Comfrey.
But then wealthy divorcée Catherine Laggat-Brown walks in with their first "real" case. Mrs. Laggat-Brown's daughter has received a death threat, and when Agatha thwarts an attack on the girl at a dinner dance, she recognizes an opportunity to show what Raisin Investigations can do. Even better, the case gives her a chance to reunite with her long-absent friend, Sir Charles Fraith. As they scour the Cotswolds in search of leads, Charles' insights prove invaluable and his charms irresistible, leading poor Emma to fall madly in love with him.

As ever, Agatha bumbles her way through the case, trying her friends' patience and flirting shamelessly with the chief suspect. Will she put her tiny agency on the map, or has even the outrageous Agatha finally bitten off more than she can chew?

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  • Copyright 2004 by M. C. Beaton.

THE DEADLY DANCE (Chapter 1)

THE thing that finally nudged Agatha Raisin into opening her own detective agency was what she always thought of as the Paris Incident.

Made restless by the summer torpor blanketing the village of Carsely in the Cotswolds, Agatha decided to take a week's holiday in Paris.

She was a rich woman, but like all rich people was occasionally struck by periods of thrift, and so she had booked into a small hotel off Saint Germain des Prés in the Latin Quarter. She had visited Paris before and seen all the sights; this time wanted only to sit in cafés and watch the people go by or take long walks by the Seine.

But Paris, after the first two days, became even hotter than Carsely and her hotel room did not have any air-conditioning. As the heat mounted to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and she tossed and turned on her damp sheets, she discovered that Paris never sleeps. There were two restaurants across the road with outside tables, and, up until one in the morning, the accordion players came around to get money from the diners. Agatha, as she listened to another rendering of "La Vie en Rose," fantasized about lobbing a hand grenade through the window. Then there was the roar of the traffic and the yells of the tourists who had drunk not too wisely. Later on, as they felt not too well, she could hear moans and retching.

Nonetheless, she decided to see as much of Paris as possible. The Metro was cheap and went all over the place.

On the fourth day of her visit, she went down into the Metro at Maubert-Mutualité. She sat down on a hard plastic seat on the platform and pulled out her subway map. She planned to go to W. H. Smith on the Rue de Rivoli and buy some English books.

As she heard the train approaching, she stuffed the map back in her handbag, flipped open the doors of the carriage with that silver handle which had so bemused her when she had first tried to board, and went inside, aware that someone was crowding behind her, and at the same time feeling a sort of tremor reverberating from her handbag up through the shoulder strap.

She glanced down and saw that her handbag was open again and that her wallet was missing.

Agatha stared wrathfully at the man who had crowded behind her. He was of medium height, white, with black hair, wearing a blue shirt and blue jeans.

"Here, you!" Agatha advanced on him. He nipped out of the carriage and into the next one, with Agatha in pursuit. Just as she was leaning forward to grab him and the train was moving out, he wrenched open the doors of the carriage and escapedonto the platform, leaving Agatha, who did not have the strength to do the same thing, being carried furiously away to the next station.

Agatha blamed the hairdresser. A Parisian hairdresser had told her that there was no crime around Maubert because of the huge commissariat. So Agatha took the Métro back to Maubert, darted up the escalator and demanded directions to the commissariat. She was told it was just round the corner.

It was an ugly modern building with steep steps up to the main entrance. Dripping with sweat and bad temper, Agatha erupted into the entrance hall. There was a very beautiful girl with long dark hair sitting behind bulletproof glass.

Agatha poured out her tale of the mugging, expecting to be shown to some detective's room immediately, but the girl began to interview her. Agatha thought sourly that someone so young and attractive should give way to someone with a bit more authority.

She was fortunate in that she had only had sixty euros in her wallet and that she had left her credit cards in the hotel safe. Her passport was in another...

About the Author-
  • M. C. Beaton, who was the British guest of honor at Bouchercon 2006, has been hailed as the "Queen of Crime" (The Globe and Mail). In addition to her New York Times and USA Today bestselling Agatha Raisin novels, Beaton is the author of the Hamish Macbeth series and four Edwardian mysteries. Born in Scotland, she currently divides her time between the English Cotswolds and Paris. The Blood of an Englishman is her 25th Agatha Raisin Mystery.
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The Deadly Dance
The Deadly Dance
Agatha Raisin Mystery Series, Book 15
M. C. Beaton
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