Agatha Raisin, a public relations professional, gives up her life in London in the hope of starting a new life in the seemingly quiet village of Carsley, but soon finds herself a suspect in a murder case when she enters the village's annual quiche-making competition in an attempt to ingratiate herself with the community. She sets out to clear her name and solve the mystery of the quiche of death.
On the eve of the village's best kept garden contest many of the entrants' gardens are sabotaged. Shortly afterwards James' other half Mary, a keen contestant, is murdered, following a row between the couple. Since Mary's garden was left virtually untouched Agatha initially suspects one of the other contestants, all of whom hated her, but switches her opinion upon meting Mary's spoilt daughter and sole heir, Beth., being wrong on both counts. However a new lead is opened up on the discovery that Mary used to be a singer and music provides a clue to Agatha solving the murder - and for good measure she also identifies the garden vandals.
Agatha dates handsome vet Paul Bladen but next day he is murdered, injected with an overdose of horse tranquillizer whilst at Lord Pembury's stable. Agatha spots that Pembury has a motive, as do Percy Parr, whose wife Harriet was seeing Paul, and spurned receptionist Chloe Mabbs. Then a villager about to divulge a secret about the deceased to Agatha is also killed in the same way. When the murderer kidnaps Agatha's cat in an effort to get her to back off with her investigation this inadvertently provides a clue, enabling Agatha to solve the killings.
The day after Kylie Stokes' wedding to Zac Leeson the bride is murdered and Agatha promises her mother Freda she will find the killer. There are many intrigues surrounding the bridal party, including Kylie's affair with an older businessman whom she was seemingly blackmailing, a mysterious money gift given by Charlie Fraith and a jealous bridesmaid who apparently hated Kylie for stealing Zac from her . However it is an old photo in a local art exhibition which puts Agatha on the road to unmasking the killer.
Anxious to begin work on her book, Agatha rents a cottage in pretty Fryfam. She is soon interrupted by a series of odd goings-on in the village: strange lights appear in her back garden, a painting is stolen, and the local squire is found murdered, perhaps by his young wife. Agatha's nose for trouble ensnares her in a maelstrom of jealousy, blackmail and dangerous liaisons, especially with a murderer who plans to keep irrepressible Agatha permanently in Fryfam - as a resident corpse!
Agatha and James Lacey are still happily together, although not engaged. She has officially started her new detective agency, but she is sitting around waiting for some action. James suggests that they "drum up business" by investigating a "legendary haunted house." This turns into a very spooky mystery for Agatha to solve.