Audiobook Review: A Fatal Winter by G. M. Malliet

 

a fatal winter

Title: A Fatal Winter (Max Tudor #2)

Author: G. M. Malliet

Reader: Michael Page

Category: Mystery

Audio published: October 30, 2012 by Dreamscape Media

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

Add: Goodreads

Purchase: Amazon | IndieBound | Book Depository

Last year, Agatha Award-winning author G. M. Malliet charmed mystery lovers, cozy fans, and Agatha Christie devotees with Wicked Autumn, the first mystery featuring her captivating protagonist, Max Tudor, and the small English village of Nether Monkslip.In A Fatal Winter, Max—Anglican priest, former MI5 agent, and village heartthrob—investigates two deaths at Chedrow Castle. But his growing attraction to Awena Owen complicates his case, as does the recent arrival at Chedrow Castle of a raucous group of long-lost, greedy relatives, any one of whom has a motive for murder. With a cozy setting, intricate puzzles, and a handsome (non-celibate) priest doing the sleuthing, the books in this series are destined to become instant classics in the mystery world.

I think the blurb is a little overly optimistic. I just finished listening to A Fatal Winter and I listened to the first in the series, Wicked Autumn, last fall, and I wouldn’t call them destined to be classics. They’re enjoyable and the small town English setting is always a great atmosphere for cozy mysteries, but I don’t find them outstanding, just good.

Max is sexy, smart and an Anglican priest. In A Fatal Winter, the local police seek out his help, setting it up for him to spend a couple of days at Chedrow Castle, where both of the reigning family monarchs, Lord Footrustle and his twin sister Lady Baynard have both died. Footrustle was quite obviously the victim of murder, but Lady Baynard may have died of natural causes, or not because isn’t that a bit much of a coincidence?

The castle, is appropriately full of family for the upcoming Christmas holiday. The family is dysfunctional, to put it mildly and really any of them could be the killer. We’ve got an overly-emotive B actress and her embezzling husband, a beautiful ex-wife and her typically teenage children, a photographer who has aspirations and his assistant, a religious fanatic spinster, all with secrets and motives, suspicions and odd behaviors.

Max is a perfect in the situation, observant but not intrusive and not as threatening as cops can seem. The mystery itself is well-done and the answer should have been have plain, but it wasn’t. Malliet parcels out the clues well. She plays fair, but in a way that doesn’t let the solution become overly obvious.

Michael Page does an excellent job as the reader., even with the female characters. He really lets their personalities come through. There are a lot of characters to keep straight, which can be tough in an audio, and I was worried after hearing the cast of characters in the beginning, but I shouldn’t have been concerned. All of them were clearly defined. My one complaint is the voice he used for the Serbian butler. He sounded like a vampire from an old movie.

It’s a good classic mystery. This one is the second in the series and does stand on its own, except when it comes to scenes in the small town of Nether Monkslip. In those instances, it helped to have listened to the first, I knew the women and some of the petty jealousies.

Max Tudor Series

  1. Wicked Autumn
  2. A Fatal Winter
  3. Pagan Spring (due October 8, 2013)

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