This week, the village of Carsley is plagued by joy riders. The episode opens with a yellow car tearing up the green late at night, blasting loud thumping music, red and orange flames painted down the side of the car. As if that’s not enough trouble in this quiet little Cotswolds village, the residents all wake up the next morning to find that their gardens have been vandalized. Some have uprooted trees, while others find dead fish in the koi pond or smashed pots in the greenhouse. Why is this significant? The Open Gardens Competition is coming up and everyone has been pruning and primping their entries.
Agatha Raisin's (Ashley Jensen) garden is the only one not vandalized, although it looks as if it has been. Apparently, she is going with a Zen theme. She reports that she is attempting to detox her life and be at one with nature—trying to get the qi flowing. Her aim is harmony and peace, but her blended veggie drinks appear to be nasty, and Roy Silver (Mathew Horne) is not having any.
We get invested in our characters. We root for Agatha to be accepted by the villagers of Carsley. We want her to get together with James Lacey (Jamie Glover). We want her to solve the murders that have plagued the village since…well, since she arrived. But, she seems to be—how shall I put it nicely—going through something. Methinks being snubbed by James, and the way her little fling ended with Guy Freemont (Jules Knight) in the last episode, has got her reevaluating her life.
In the midst of all this reinvention of Agatha, we still need a murder. You might think that a garden contest isn’t the best idea. After all, we know how the Quiche competition ended and, as previously mentioned, the body count is rather high in Carsley.
Mary Fortune (Daisy Beaumont), who is her competition for the affection of James Lacey, doesn’t help matters when she compares our Aggie to Miss Marple, telling her to investigate the garden vandalism. Aggie immediately thinks Mary means she is old. Well, Mary’s torment of Agatha soon stops…permanently.
The dark comedy that the show is known for is evident in the next scene. Poor Mary Fortune has been strangled and then planted. Our first view of her is her feet sticking up out of a giant backyard pot, everything from the waist up is buried in the dirt. One can’t help but notice the smile on the face of DCI Wilkes (Jason Barnett) as he tells Agatha and James that he’s going to need their statements. The man just loves a murder.
James is beside himself and refuses to help investigate. We find out that Mary had broken it off with him. Agatha sets off on her own to solve the murder, and she finds that there were any number of villagers who didn’t like Mary and had reason to get rid of her—including James, given his break up with the deceased.
Sarah Bloxby (Lucy Liemann), the sweet vicar’s wife, admits she couldn’t stand her. Apparently, Mary was all smiles in public but critical in private. Told her it was a pity she’d let herself go.
Mrs. Josephs (June Watson), an equally sweet villager, tells a similar tale. Mary told her she was too old to run the ladies society, too old to even look after herself.
Enter suspect number four: Mary Fortune’s lovely young daughter, Beth Fortune (Antonia Clarke). She was set to receive an inheritance on her 21st birthday, but with Mary’s death, she will inherit everything now.
There is one more possible suspect, but before he’s introduced, we are treated to our episode’s funniest moment. Agatha spots a young man in red shoes—just such a character was seen lurking about before Mary was killed. She proceeds to take off her shoes, run across the lawn, shout to Bill Wong (Matt McCooey) that he’s got a gun, and pounce on the unsuspecting youth. Unfortunately, the young man is the ex-fiancé of Mary’s daughter. Agatha is sufficiently embarrassed.
What follows is the investigation, and Agatha, of course, saves the day by solving the murder (albeit without a vision board this time). The visual sleuth that she is, she does use a pile of melons to represent all of her suspects. She even manages to identify the joy riders, and you’ll never guess who it is.
The scripts continue to contain plenty of one-liners and laughable moments. Gemma Simpson (Katy Wix), Agatha’s sidekick, gets in a few good ones, and her delivery is impeccable as always. We aren’t treated to a bumbling police officer scene in this episode. Perhaps the writers don’t want their routine to get old and are limiting the shenanigans.
We’ll just have to see what we find in the next episode.
Kerry Hammond loves all types of mysteries. She is a Book Reviewer and Blogger for Mystery Playground. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhammond88.