What could be more dangerous than cozy village life in the English countryside?
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 found 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.
Max has ministered to the community long enough to be familiar with the tangled alliances and animosities among the residents, but this tragedy surprises and confounds him. It is impossible to believe anyone in his lovely village capable of the crime, and yet given the victim, he must acknowledge that almost everyone had probably fantasized about killing Wanda Batton-Smythe.
As the investigation unfolds, Max becomes more intricately involved. Memories he'd rather not revisit are stirred, evoking the demons from the past which led him to Nether Monkslip. In WICKED AUTUMN, G.M. Malliet serves up an irresistible English village—deliciously skewered—a flawed but likeable protagonist, and a brilliantly modern version of the traditional drawing room mystery.One of The Boston Globe's Best Mysteries of 2011
One of Library Journal's Best Mystery Books of 2011
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.