I was recently delighted to have been invited by the prestigious, independent publishers, Constable & Robinson, to join their list of review bloggers. This is my first review for them.
Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliett.
Take the quintessentially English village of Nether Monkslip, add a charismatic young vicar, fresh from the shady world of MI5, and mix well with the horrid, domineering woman who rules the community and leads the Women’s Institute. And hey presto! – A cosy crime murder mystery.
“Max Tudor has adapted well to his post as vicar of St Edwold’s in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip. The quiet village seems the perfect home for Max, who has fled a harrowing past as an MI5 agent. Now he has sound a measure of peace among urban escapees and yoga practitioners, artists and crafters and New Agers.
“But this new-found serenity is quickly shattered when the highly vocal and unpopular president of the Women’s Institute turns up dead at the Harvest Fayre. The death looks like an accident but Max’s training as a former agent kicks in, and before long he suspects foul play…”
Well, that’s what the blurb says.
Wicked Autumn comes from the pen of popular American crime writer, G.M. Malliett.
The book, which is the first in the Max Tudor series, won much acclaim when it was published in the US last year. It was also nominated for a prestigious Agatha award.
With that kind of build-up I was really looking forward to settling down for a good read.
But sadly, as ‘cosies’ go, this one was a bit slow for me.
Given how much everyone detested the hateful Wanda Batton-Smythe, it was irritating that it took until page 72 before anyone got around to doing away with her. It was no ordinary bumping off, either. But I won’t spoil that for you.
Our intrepid amateur sleuth, aka the Rev Max Tudor, steps into the breach, putting his MI5 skills to use again. The slightly unlikely senior police officer heading up the enquiry, Detective Chief Inspector Cotton, not only doesn’t find Max’s private investigations irritating, but he seems to rely on him to solve the crime.
I liked Max, but the constant flashbacks to his days as a secret agent, and the death of the friend and colleague that turned him to religion, somewhat sobered up the otherwise frivolous romp.
I have to admit, I was a bit unsure about an American author writing a characteristically English ‘cosy’, but after reading it…hmmn, well I’m still not sure. The American spellings throughout did little to anchor the book in Merry England.
There are lots of good things about this book, the author’s undeniable writing skills for one, and the fact that she obviously researched her subject. It will be interesting to see how well it does in the UK.
Happy reading and writing, everyone.