Hello. My name is Max Tudor. If you want to start our acquaintance on a more a formal footing, I am the Rev. Max Tudor, vicar of St. Edwold’s Church in Nether Monkslip. My parishioners generally call me Father Max, although that is verging on too High Church for me, and I prefer to be called Max. I strive never to be dogmatic about my Anglican faith.
I am still surprised to find myself taking care of a Church of England flock in a village so small it doesn’t appear on any map. Nether Monkslip nestles in a peaceful valley beneath Hawk Crest, wedged somewhere between Devon and Dorset, and very near Monkslip-super-Mare on the Southwest coast of England.
For most of my adult life I lived in London, where I worked for MI5. My work was undercover and even now I seldom can be induced to talk about it. I left all that behind—the lies, the subterfuge, the secrecy, the betrayals—when my colleague Paul was murdered. I was called instead to become a vicar, to turn swords into ploughshares.
Or so I thought. The murder rate has increased alarmingly with my arrival in the Monkslip region and my bishop thinks there is a connection. I do hope he is wrong.
Come to remember, there was that odd case during my time as a student at Oxford. . .
Anyway, a typical day for me begins with Morning Prayer followed by the usual pastoral duties of visiting the poor, the sick, and the dying. More days than not I am called upon to sort out some altercation among the members of the altar guild. I like to spend some time each day working on my Sunday sermon.
I am aided now in all these endeavors by my assistant the Rev. Destiny Chatsworth. This is a very good thing, because too often I am called away from my desk by DCI Cotton of Monkslip-super-Mare to sort out a murder that has taken place too close to home. He and I have developed into quite a good team over the years, and he never seems to mind my interference in what is, after all, his case to solve. I believe he is taking notes on each case with an eye to publishing some of our more notorious cases. But I have found that once one realizes people are the same the world over, whether highborn or lowborn, the solution to most crimes, as Sherlock might say, is elementary.
I am married to Awena Owen, who owns Godessspell, a New Age shop in the village, and I am the proud father of Owen Tudor, who will soon be one year old. Awena has become a cookbook writer of some renown, and most days I reap the rewards of her nourishing, locally-sourced, vegetarian meals. Life could not be happier or more complete.
Except for that alarming, rising body count.
You can read more about Max in Devil’s Breath, the sixth book in the “Max Tudor” mystery series.
In Devil’s Breath, the body of glamorous film star Margot Browne has washed ashore from a luxury yacht and Max’s former colleague Patrice Logan wants his help to find the murderer.
It’s a perfect “closed circle” murder since victim Margot must have been killed by one of the actors, stylists, screenwriters, or second-tier royalty aboard. Patrice suspects the yacht’s owner, a playboy film director she’s been keeping tabs on for smuggling, but Max isn’t so sure. Max and DCI Cotton interview the suspects as they loll about one of the luxury hotels dotting the waterfront. The investigation into Margot’s lurid past uncovers a host of motives—it seems she was not the only person on board with a secret they’d kill to keep.
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Meet the author
About the Author: G.M. Malliet’s first St. Just mystery won the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a best book of the year. It was nominated for many awards, including the Anthony, the Macavity, and a Left Coast Crime award for best police procedural. She has since been nominated for nearly every major crime-writing award, including the Anthony (audiobook and short story). Her series from Macmillan featuring a former MI5 agent turned vicar of a small English village debuted in the autumn of 2011; four books in the series have been nominated for the Agatha. Of the fourth book in the series, Cleveland.com raved: “[Malliet] may be the best mystery author writing in English at the moment (along with Tana French). She’s certainly the most entertaining.” Her new standalone, Weycombe, a book of dark suspense also set in an English village, will appear in October 2017. Connect with G.M. at gmmalliet.com.
All comments are welcomed.
Devil’s Breath is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.