Max Tudor has left MI5 for a quieter life in the countryside of Nether Monkslip. Now the vicar in the small town, Max is living the restful, routine life he's dreamed of until this year's Harvest Fayre goes terribly wrong. Max is one of two people to discover the body of Wanda Batton-Smythe, Head of the Women's Institute of Nether Monkslip, dead of an apparent allergic reaction. DCI Cotton, assigned to the case, is happy to have Max's help in investigating, since both men suspect foul play. The leading question in Wanda's mysterious death is who isn't a suspect, for the pushy and forceful community leader could've counted most townspeople as enemies. As expected, MallietÂ (Death and the Lit Chick, 2009, etc.) assembles a quirky cast of characters for Max to interview, including passive local knitter Lily Iverson, Wanda's shell of a husband Major Batton-Smythe and local New Age guru Awena Owen, Max's close friend. As the personalities drive the action, Max slowly unravels the events that led to Wanda's untimely demise.
Another meandering whodunit where the virtuous are rewarded and the wicked punished, providing the sort of comfort a quintessential cozy can offer.Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Agatha Award-winning author Malliet (Death of a Cozy Writer) debuts a superb new series. Imagine for a moment that Max Tudor, a disillusioned former MI5 agent, has become an Anglican priest. So now he's the vicar in this small idyllic village with all its foibles and strong personalities. Wanda Batton-Smythe, a much reviled, bossy, and brusque village leader, is found dead after being poisoned during the Harvest Fayre she was coordinating. Max is stunned, as if a "snake in his Garden of Eden" has struck, but the local investigators are thrilled to have an inside guy (MI5!) to help them out. As expected, a variety of motives surface, and Max learns much about his parishioners and neighbors. VERDICT Malliet's hero shows his dogged determination to bring justice to his people. You'll marvel at the author's low-key humor and crystal-clear depictions of small-town life. Yes, this is a true homage to Agatha Christie, but Malliet, like Louise Penny, brings a contemporary freshness to the traditional mystery. [Minotaur First Edition Selection; library marketing.][Page 61]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This appealing first in a new cozy series from Agatha-winner Malliet (Death at the Alma Mater) introduces Max Tudor, ex-MI5 officer turned Anglican priest at St. Edwold's in the village of Nether Monkslip. Since Wanda Batton-Smythe has made herself the most hated individual in town with her officious manner and harsh treatment of volunteers working on the annual Harvest Fayre, no one's too surprised when her body turns up one day in the village hall. Wanda appears to have died of a severe allergic reaction, possibly by accident, but the calm, unemotional Max is certain it's a case of "malice aforethought." Guided by the MI5 premise that "everyone is a suspect," Max interviews one and all around Nether Monkslip, from a harried chef to a frightened young acolyte who faints during Wanda's funeral. The action builds to a tense confrontation at St. Edwold's. Readers will look forward to seeing more of the Rev. Tudor. (Oct.)[Page ]. Copyright 2011 PWxyz LLC