Book: The Haunted Season
Author: G.M. Malliet
Summary: Agatha Award-winning author G.M. Malliet has charmed mystery lovers, cozy fans, and Agatha Christie devotees everywhere with Wicked Autumn, A Fatal Winter, Pagan Spring, and Demon Summer, the critically acclaimed mysteries featuring handsome ex-spy-turned-cleric Father Max Tudor. Something sinister is stirring at Totleigh Hall, the showcase of the English village of Nether Monkslip. Usually, the lord and lady of the manor are absent - high tax rates, it is murmured with more than a trace of envy, force them to live on the continent for most of the year. But Lord and Lady Baaden-Boomethistle have been in residence for some weeks now, and the villagers are hoping for a return to the good old days, when the lord of the manor sprinkled benefits across the village like fairy dust. Father Max Tudor's invitation to dinner at the Hall comes as a welcome novelty; it will be his first time meeting the famous family that once held sway in the area. But before he has time to starch his clerical collar and organize a babysitter, a sudden and suspicious death intervenes, and the handsome vicar's talent for sorting through clues to a murder is once again called into play in this charming and clever novel. -Minotaur Books, 2015.
This book is the next part of the Max Tudor mystery series - the 5th book, to be more specific. I technically hadn't read the book, Demon Summer beforehand and that's because I was reading this book alongside a friend who got a copy of the book from me for Christmas. Thus, I'm reviewing it as a standalone plot.
It's a decent mystery this time around - more focus is given to continuing plot points/side plots than the mystery itself. This isn't all that surprising since that is what tends to happen when a series is written. It's hard to balance between writing a fresh mystery versus maintaining past side plots.
This time, Max must solve the murder of one of the local gentry while trying to remain under the radar and not bring anymore unneeded attention to himself. It's a fine balance he must walk, especially since he now has a wife and child to care for as well. I can't really say much about the mystery since it didn't get as much focus as the side plots and it was overshadowed by a major personal twist to Max near the end.
There is a cliffhanger at the end of the book in order to prep for the next part of the series. I hope the next book gets better at balancing the material - mystery versus side plots.
Overall, I give The Haunted Season an A-.
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