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A Fatal Winter: A Max Tudor Novel Hardcover – October 16, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 119 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the A Max Tudor Novel Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A tiny village in the English countryside during a storm-wracked winter. A house party at the local castle that ends in two deaths. A dishy vicar, formerly an MI5 agent, summoned to the castle to solve the certain homicide of the lord. Put it all together, and this is one gift-wrapped package for cozy lovers and Agatha Christie devotees. But it is also a pretty cheeky cozy, written by someone who knows how to use the conventions and poke fun at them at the same time. In the second in the series starring vicar Max Tudor (following Wicked Autumn, 2011), Tudor escapes the amorous clutches of the church ladies in Nether Monkslip to visit Chedrow Castle in the wake of the deaths of Lord Footrustle and Lady Baynard. (An old cop friend wants Tudor on the scene to observe the viper’s nest of relatives.) Tudor’s observations on evil, honed by both his spy and vicar backgrounds, are one of the best features of this thoroughly entertaining mystery. --Connie Fletcher

Review

“Agatha Christie fans will relish [this] delicious novel.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred)

“There are certain things you want in a village mystery: a pretty setting, a tasteful murder, an appealing sleuth . . . Malliet delivers all that.” ―Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times, on Wicked Autumn

“Malliet has mastered the delights of the cozy mystery so completely that she seems to be channeling Agatha Christie.” ―Booklist (starred) on Wicked Autumn

“Malliet, like Louise Penny, brings a contemporary freshness to the traditional mystery.” ―Library Journal (starred) on Wicked Autumn

“A superb novel! Filled with humor and insight, G.M. Malliet creates a fabulous setting in Nether Monkslip and a great series hero in Father Max Tudor. Rarely have I read descriptions that have left me gasping, in both their hilarity and their painful truth. A wonderful read.” ―Louise Penny, author of A Trick of the Light

“If you love traditional mysteries you'll enjoy Wicked Autumn... It's a classic, and one almost any reader will enjoy.” ―Charlaine Harris, author of the True Blood series, on Wicked Autumn

“A tongue-in-cheek village mystery to be savored.” ―Julia Spencer-Fleming on Wicked Autumn

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Product Details

  • Series: A Max Tudor Novel (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312647972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312647971
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,867 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Angie Boyter VINE VOICE on August 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In last year's Agatha-nominated Wicked Autumn, G. M. Malliet introduced us to a new series about Max Tudor, a former MI5 agent who is now an Anglican priest in the small village of Nether Monkslip. In the second book of the series, after a lonely Christmas "celebrated" in the company of only his sister and his adopted (and never allowed to forget the fact!) great-niece, seventy-five-year-old Oscar, Lord Footrustle, has invited his rather dysfunctional extended family to spend the next Christmas at the family home, Chedrow Castle. Unfortunately, before the Christmas goose is even in the oven, two deaths make this anything but a joyous holiday. Father Max once again helps the local police investigate, initially infiltrating himself into the household in his role as the clergy who will oversee the funeral services.
This is a classic country-house (or country castle) murder peopled with scheming relatives, all of whom might seem to have a motive, and Malliet delivers a reasonably enjoyable example of the genre, once the reader gets past wondering how Max justifies spending the night at a house that is apparently only a few miles from Nether Monkslip. The murderer had a clever ruse that fooled me and Max both!
Nevertheless, readers who enjoyed Wicked Autumn may be a bit disappointed. Like many cozies, A Fatal Winter does not have a lot of action or suspense (although there is one excellent suspense scene towards the end of the book). The real pleasure in the first book came from the characters and the descriptions of village life, with all its beauties and its warts. Except for two sequences, which almost seemed "tacked on", the Nether Monkslip inhabitants are largely absent from A Fatal Winter, and Lord Footrustle's family are not developed enough to be interesting.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I read the first book in the Max Winter series, Wicked Autumn: A Mystery (Max Tudor), I was charmed at this modern take at the traditional English village mystery. It was bright and clever, with its amusing take on various village characters and traditions. With this second book in the series, author G. M. Malliet unfortunately falls into a deep sophomore slump.

Most of the book takes place away from the village of Nether Monkslip, in Chedrow Castle, where old Lord Footrustle has been stabbed to death while his home is packed full of members his grasping family. Max Tudor, retired MI5 agent and now vicar in Nether Monkslip, is invited to stay at Chedrow Castle after the murder, ostensibly to provide spiritual aid to the family and help plan the funeral. His friend, Detective Chief Inspector Cotton, wants him to use his visit to help with the murder investigation. This setup for Max's investigation seems pretty flimsy, but contriving a reason for an amateur detective to investigate a murder is a common problem with cozies, and this wasn't a lot worse than the usual.

The book's Prologue introduces us to the Chedrow Castle denizens, but they're all so similarly unappealing that I had to hold my finger in the book at the character list page so that I could keep consulting it to remind myself who was who. That's not a good sign, especially when I was still occasionally having to consult the page when I was more than two-thirds through the book. The depiction of the characters in this book paled in comparison with what Malliet did with the villagers in Wicked Autumn, and I frequently found myself wishing we were back in Nether Monkslip.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
3.5 stars
This is an old fashioned cozy English country house updated for modern times. Oscar, Lord Footrustle, lives in the old, family Castle Chedrow only now the National Trust owns it and runs tours through it. Oscar has made his fortune and can now afford the Castle but it's too late. He is surrounded by a complicated family including his sister, his ex-wife, his actress daughter from an early marriage, two nephews, and two late in life twins. He also has live-in staff, a couple who gamely try to keep up with the work assisted by some daily help.

The first half of this book introduces this cast of characters and adds the village people. The protagnist is Max Tudor, an Anglican priest and former MI5 agent and his love interest, the lovely Awena, local herbalist. It takes awhile to keep all these characters straight and I had to refer to the cast of characters cheat sheet quite a bit.

The murders occur but like many of these type of books is not really the focus. It's really about the characters and that's where this book falls a little short. Some of them are just not clearly defined. I did enjoy Jocasta, the American actress, with the sly references to "Sunset Boulevard." That's what saves this book is the sly elbow to the ribs bits. Really very funny.

I did not read the first one so maybe I needed that backdrop. I would have loved to read more about the village and its inhabitants. It was also hampered by the fact that most of the Footrustle family was unlikable. They were just unpleasant people. I did like the way the story was updated to modern times.

I enjoyed it enough that I will go back and read the first one. I might appreciate this one better and I look forward to future installments. It's the perfect kind of read for a rainy day.
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