Wicked Autumn by G. M. Malliet is the first in a series of mysteries set in the tiny British village of Nether Monkslip where Max Tudor, a former MI5 agent turned Anglican priest, is the vicar and the village heartthrob—he is described as looking like Hugh Grant. The village is getting ready for the annual Harvest Fair, and Wanda Batton-Smythe, the head of the Women’s Institute, is bullying everyone into running the fair her way. Everyone in Nether Monkslip hates Wanda, so all the villagers are suspects when she’s found dead in the middle of the fair. Max investigates her death, while at the same time battling his memories of the past, involving the death of his best friend, which caused him to leave MI5, and falling for Awena, the owner of a New Age shop. Max’s struggles with his past and his attraction to Awena will continue throughout the series, which includes four books so far.
Fans of Agatha Christie will love this series. It’s very much in the tradition of the British village mystery, but with a contemporary setting. If you’re a fan of Louise Penny’s Three Pines, another tiny town which doesn’t show up on maps, you will find much to like in Malliet’s series.
Wicked Autumn can be checked out from the Hatcher Graduate Library.
The fourth and latest book in the series, Demon Summer, is available from the Browsing Collection at the Shapiro Undergraduate Library.