This was my first introduction to Max Tudor and the classic pastoral village of Nether Monkslip. I’m already a fan of the charming, humorous, and heartfelt world Ms. Malliet has created, and intend to read more of this series.
I marked this story down a bit because I felt lost in places – there seemed to be a lot of “what are they doing now” type updates on characters that I had no prior knowledge of. There is also a larger character arc for Fr. Max that appears to span several books, but gave me a rather “late to the party” feeling. This is probably more satisfying when read in its proper place in the series, instead of an introduction or stand-alone.
The story culminates in two exciting incidents that would have made very gripping scenes. I was confused by the choice to put all the action off-stage and convey these major plot points as retrospective dialogue. It fell flat for me, and left me wishing I could have “seen” the events firsthand instead of hearing about them afterwards.
However, I appreciate Ms. Malliet’s style and the way she’s taken the English Countryside mystery tradition and updated it with contemporary characters, issues and themes. It reminded me of the T.V. series “Midsomer Murders,” which I really enjoy.
I look forward to returning to Nether Monkslip and getting to know Fr. Max and his flock better.