I received Malliet’s book, Wicked Autumn through my friends at Library Thing. I have not read any of her previous works, but am a recent convert to the cozy mystery genre (I especially enjoy Louise Penny’s books). I’m still not 100% convinced I know what a “Cozy Mystery” is, but apparently this fits the bill– a murder without gore and blood and the focus not on the crime itself so much as the personalities involved.
Mailliet’s book is the first in a new series she’s developing about a former MI5 agent turned Anglican priest, Max Tudor. We learn from the book that Max has sought out the priesthood for honorable reasons but some nagging issues about his work for MI5 and he remains guarded about interpersonal relationships. He wants an uncomplicated life and has moved to a very remote area to be the village Vicar. When the much-feared head of the local Women’s Institute is murdered, Max appears destined to help local law enforcement solve the crime.
It was an enjoyable read with a compelling cast of female and male characters. I have to admit I enjoyed the supporting cast of female characters even more than Max. I can’t say I had a really strong attraction to him despite his description as being handsome and intelligent. He presents as a man of intellect, honesty, and faith, but I found him oddly aloof for one who has committed his life to the service of God and community (residue from MI%, no doubt). I suspect Malliet is holding things back to see how he develops as the series progresses. I’d definitely read another book (or even re-read this one!) to learn more. We are certain to learn more about Max and his MI5 past. ( )