G. M. Malliet is a relative newcomer to the mystery-writing scene. Ironically, considering how I recently wrote a rant against the word “cozy”, the title of her first mystery novel was Death of a Cozy Writer. I have yet to read it, but I got a hold of her newest novel, Wicked Autumn.
It is a new series for Malliet, so I haven’t missed out any backstory. The detective is Max Tudor, a former MI5 agent who found God and became a priest in the Anglican Church. He is now vicar of the church at Nether Monkslip, a supposedly idyllic English village in the countryside… which of course is the perfect place for a murder!
The victim was one Wanda Batton-Smythe, and you couldn’t find a much more despicable person on this little planet of ours. She presented a bluff, energetic façade to the world, playing the part of the Grand Dame, complete with a condescending attitude to those she considered her social inferiors. Naturally, she manages to get on everybody’s nerves right before a big autumn festival, and as a result, she gets herself killed. Wanda was famously allergic to peanuts—even people who barely knew her knew about this. She carried an epinephrine injector with her wherever she went as a precaution, and yet, she succumbs to death via her allergy. But why is the injector not in her handbag? And how did someone manage to convince her to eat something with peanuts in it?