Agatha Raisin is a shrewd, successful businesswoman. She has plenty of money, people who care about her, and the cottage in the Cotswolds that she dreamed of all her life.

Unfortunately, Agatha is not a happy woman. She obsesses about her fading looks, her reputation in the village — and, especially, about men. This time it’s George Marston, a jobbing gardener with great hair, oodles of charm, and quite a few secrets.

Agatha’s over-the-top efforts to get the gardener’s attention backfire when he turns up dead, the victim of deadly asps. Naturally, Agatha has to try to find out who killed him — and in the process, she puts herself into danger.

This book marks the 20th anniversary of the Agatha Raisin series. These cozy mysteries feature creative murder weapons, lots of suspects, and a bumbling amateur sleuth who still manages to bring the crimes home to the criminals. The great appeal of the books, though, is found in the characters. The long-running series includes not only Agatha, who is her own worst enemy, but also a range of others readers will get to know and love. People from the village, Agatha’s old friends from London, her employees at the detective agency she opened when retirement got boring, and the many and varied men she never quite settles down with — an unusually varied cast of characters enriches the books. Agatha’s difficulty in settling into village ways is just as pronounced as her difficulty in setting down in her love life, and her attempts to do so add piquancy to the stories.

Hiss and Hers has plenty of action, and a brief side trip to France which armchair travelers will enjoy.