I'm a fan of all of G.M. Malliet's Max Tudor mysteries. It's a treat to read about an M15 agent turned vicar, living in a small English village. Even in a village, Max Tudor, like Miss Marple before him, discovers that people can kill. And, this time, Malliet, like Christie at times, has an impressive, unexpected ending. The Haunted Season may be the Agatha Award-winning author's best book yet.
Lord and Lady Baaden-Boomethistle and their family are in residence at Totleigh Hall, and the villagers of Nether Monkslip are always interested in the comings-and-goings at the manor house. Even the vicar is impressed when he stops by the house to ask if they can use the grounds for the annual duck race. But, that's about the last pleasant scene at the manor before a terrible murder occurs. And, now, the villagers have quite a bit to talk about when it comes to the family.
Max can be forgiven for not being on top of his game. He's still fascinated with his new wife and infant son, spending as much time as he can with them. But, when DCI Cotton asks for his help with the murder investigation, he immediately agrees. He only worries a little about the bishop's thoughts on the subject of another murder case involving the vicar.
Malliet is skilled at drawing the reader into the case, as Max Tudor observes and talks with suspects. The small English villages, seem to be unexpected, but perfect, settings for murder. And, the settings, from manors to woods, are beautifully describe.
Distracted by his wife and baby, worried about a parishioner who seems a little too obsessed with him, concerned with the mysterious face on the wall in the church, Max almost misses connections in the latest case. But, Malliet doesn't miss a trick as she cleverly puts all the pieces together in her latest puzzle. The Haunted Season, with its clever killer, twisted plot, and stunning conclusion, is G.M. Malliet at her best.
G.M. Malliet's website is www.gmmalliet.com
The Haunted Season by G.M. Malliet. Minotaur Books. 2015. ISBN 9781250021441 (hardcover), 286p.
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