Malliet, G M - 'A Fatal Winter'
Max Tudor is an Anglican priest living in a small village in the West Country. His new life, serving the community of Nether Monkslip, is a major change from his previous work for MI5. He has been able to use the skills gained from that work in helping to solve a local murder but prefers to distance himself from the world of spying still feeling undeserved guilt from the death of his colleague, Paul. Besides, his growing feelings for Arwen, the local mystic healer, is making Nether Monkslip a very attractive place to be.
One day, on the return train journey from London he shares a carriage with Lady Baynard, an eccentric old lady with strong views, from the nearby Chedrow Castle. She tells him about all the relatives that have gathered at the Castle for Christmas and tells him that she knows trouble is brewing at the Castle. Later, when Max receives a call from his friend DCI Cotton, concerning deaths at Chedrow Castle, he remembers their conversation. He is, at first, reluctant to get involved, but then curiosity overcomes him.
I found the story quite predictable, a very light read, about an England that hasn't existed for years if in fact it ever did, perhaps only in novels, where villagers support and provide for each other, tolerating the new and the old and unusual; where the local lord of the castle and his family rival each other in their eccentricities and oversee all with benevolence.
If you like a typical English murder mystery such as an Agatha Christie and a book you can happily read before sleep without troubling nightmares, then you will enjoy this.
Susan White, England
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