Fresh Meat: A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet

A Fatal Winter by GM MallietA Fatal Winter is the second in G.M. Malliet’s traditional mystery series about MI5 agent-turned-vicar Max Tudor (available October 16, 2012).

Oscar, Lord Footrustle, a wealthy old aristocrat living alone (the servants don’t count) invites his extended family to spend Christmas with him at Chedrow Castle, their crumbling ancestral home situated in the quaint English village of Nether Monkslip.

Among the relatives gathered are his fading actress daughter, her much-younger half-siblings (“the Twyns”), a resentful poor relation, and assorted cousins who can’t wait to get their hands on the castle’s furnishings and fittings and paintings, which include a suspected Reynolds and a minor Rembrandt.

What could possibly go wrong?

A Fatal Winter is a traditional mystery that takes on the tropes of the genre and gives them a modern edge while still retaining that cozy, Christie feel. The characters who are gathered at the castle are types, but G.M. Malliet has invested them with such vivid life that they reshape their roles. We wonder who will die first and that curiosity turns to gleeful anticipation as we get to know the family.

Oscar’s sister, Letitia (she prefers to be addressed as “Lady Baynard”), disapproves of everyone, including her twin brother. As the relatives gather for drinks and a discussion of what they might buy their host as a Christmas present, she surveys the motley crew with a jaundiced eye.

The togetherness was giving her heartburn. She looked about her with a barely concealed contempt, like the Queen watching a performance by the Duchess of York as captured by hidden video camera and wondering where, oh, where in her long reign things had begun to go so dreadfully wrong.

The person who might have drawn our sympathy, Lady Baynard’s companion, her adoptive granddaughter Lamorna, is a sly and bitter woman who listens at doors and stores up grievances. She has a right to feel aggrieved—Lady Baynard never lets her forget that she’s not related by blood and that “blood tells,” but she is an irritating person. We find ourselves appraising her closely, wondering if the huge wooden cross she wears around her neck to ostentatiously declare her faith is just the camouflage of a murderer.

And of course there’s going to be a murder. We know, as well as Lady Baynard, that there’s trouble brewing in Nether Monkslip.

Readers will recognize the literary landscape of G.M. Malliet’s Nether Monkslip immediately with its eclectic collection of inhabitants that includes a gorgeous pagan named Awena, a gossipy post mistress, assorted shopkeepers, and the odd neurotic cat.

The village is a refuge from the madhouse of London with its constantly rising threat levels; a retreat where protagonist Max Tudor’s major concerns are the “little frictions” of life and coming up with a Christmas sermon that isn’t a cliche.

Max is pulled into the investigation reluctantly, but once he’s involved, he brings to bear his former skills as an MI5 agent. Max is a man who views the world in a special way and his experiences did not erase his sense of humor.

At least, he reflected, the hotel had a plain, old-fashioned lift with deeply padded sides—none of these modern horrors made of glass, apparently conceived as a trial for people who are afraid of heights. The last time he’d had reason to stay in London, the hotel lift had been made of stainless steel with water cascading artistically down the sides—it was like being hoisted aloft in a high-tech colander.

When Max solves the murder—in the grand tradition of meddling ministers in cozy mysteries everywhere—he lays out his logic before a drawing room of suspects in a nice homage to the classics of the genre.

It’s all great fun, and readers will find themselves looking forward to whatever Malliet has in mind for spring in Nether Monkslip.

This sweepstakes has ended.

Looking for a new traditional mystery to read? Comment for a chance to win one of ten hardcover copies of A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet!

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at beginning at 09:30 am. Eastern Time (ET) October 16, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on October 23, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010

See more coverage of new releases in our Fresh Meat series.

Katherine Tomlinson lives in Los Angeles in an apartment where her TBR pile has its own bookcase. She writes dark fiction but has a soft spot for cozy mysteries, heroic fantasy, and horror novels where only bad people get killed. She is the editor of the upcoming anthology Nightfalls.


  1. Michael Kelberer

    Sounds intriguing – I cut my mystery teeth on Christie.

  2. Alexander Douglas

    With such an excellent review, what’s not to like?

  3. Anne Slater

    Malliet’s first Max Tudor mystery was so engaging that I couldn’t possibly miss this one!

  4. Jeffrey Tretin

    Thank you for the excellent review and the giveaway. MI5 to Vicar alone make it interesting.

  5. HOTCHA1


  6. Anne Muller

    This is a new to me author and series. It sounds like a good read.

  7. Karl Stenger

    Loved the first book of the series. Can’t wait to read this one

  8. Sally

    Looks like the perfect holiday read!

  9. Robin Weatherington

    Looking forward to reading the whole book.

  10. Dana Meeks

    I haven’t read this author is I will be adding the books to my list.

  11. Bernadette

    I love everything G.M. Malliet writes. So glad a new book is out!

  12. James Devlin

    I have not read this series yet, though I enjoyed the three books in the previous one–looking forward to this!

  13. kathleen eddy

    I haven’t read this author yet–it sounds like I am missing something really good.

  14. Jorge

    Sounds interesting.

  15. Erin Hartshorn

    An English country manor murder! How wonderful!

  16. Iluvtrail

    I am looking forward to reading this book!

  17. Kathy Chiocca

    Have not read this author yet but would love the chance to…

  18. Jo Ann Hakola

    I love cozy mysteries and a spy turned into vicar immediately caught my attention. Sounds like a good read!

  19. Aaron Robbins

    That is a pretty cover.

  20. Gordon Bingham

    Best time of hte year for a new cozy!

  21. Beth Mills

    Really enjoyed Wicked Autumn–Max Tudor makes a very engaging sleuth and the novel had the flavor of Golden Age mysteries without feeling at all dusty or out-of-date. Definitely looking forward to A Fatal Winter.

  22. Scott Knight

    Sounds cool and interesting.

  23. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b][color=rgb(64, 224, 208)]WANT TO READ MORE!!![/color][/b]

  24. Joyce Delaney

    I loved Wicked Autumn and put this book on my TBR list as soon as I
    heard about it.

  25. Allison Moyer

    I always enjoy a book that includes a neurotic cat!

  26. Marlyn Beebe

    I’d love to win this book! (BTW, if there was a contest for largest TBR piles, mine would beat Katherine’s; it’s taking over the house!)

  27. Carolee888

    This book sounds like a wonderful cozy mystery book. I have read all of Agatha Christie’s writing, think that started me off in that passion. The cover is wonderful. I have never read anything by this author. Fingers are crossed.

  28. M W

    Sounds interesting…

  29. Carol Wong

    This book sounds like a wonderful cozy mystery book. I have read all of Agatha Christie’s writing, think that started me off in that passion. The cover is wonderful. I have never read anything by this author. Fingers are crossed.

  30. Doris C. Losey

    enjoyed the first in the series


    Just my kind of book for a winter’s night!

  32. Patty

    I really enjoyed the first “Max Tudor” and I looking forward to discovering more of his background.

  33. JTNaper

    The setup sounds eerily familiar–I think I read a book with a similar setup by M.C. Beaton.

  34. Lori Myers

    I love holiday and winter cozy mysteries! Makes me wish it would snow so I could stay inside and read all day!

  35. Bob Alexander

    I have read the DCI St. Just mysteries and loved them. Now, having read the first Max Tudor mystery, I want this one too. If I don’t win it I’ll buy it.

  36. Joanna Hernandez

    I would love to win this!

  37. Louise

    I so enjoyed the first Max Tudor book, I couldn’t wait for the next in the series. My advice to the author — WRITE FASTER!!

  38. Kay Gornick

    Looks interesting.

  39. fay234

    love books about MI5

  40. Patricia Hill

    I love English Mysteries.

  41. Nancy Pate

    The first Max Tudor was superb. Love the names in the new one. Just bought the e-book because I can’t wait to read it!

  42. joantu

    Oh, hoarding, definetely!!! Love her writing.

  43. Cam Grizmala

    This book sounds interesting…I’m looking forward to reading it.

  44. theresa norris

    Love a good mystery.

  45. lasvegasnv

    Sounds interesting.

  46. Doreen Weaton

    Sounds like another “have to read.”

  47. Jackie Wisherd

    Would love to read this book…thanks for the info on it. Love gingerbread and this story would go hand in hand with it.

  48. Cecile Kohrs

    Love GM Maillet. Have read her earlier books, and find them all fun, and smart. I should win, because even if I get a free copy, I will have to buy one for my mother-in-law, who is also a fan. 🙂

  49. Darlene Slocum

    I would love to curl up on a long winter night with this book and my cats close beside me.

  50. Joyce Benzing


  51. Marsha Kamish

    This sounds really awesome.

  52. Heather Martin

    I’ve not read anything about MI-5. It would be something new for me to learn about.

  53. AmyR

    Sounds awesome! Great review!

  54. Dianne

    Another great winter read.

  55. MaryC

    A Fatal Winter sounds wonderful – thanks for the giveaway!

  56. Andrew Kuligowski

    I appreciate the giveaways, but I appreciate the suggestions just as much!! (OK, ok – ALMOST as much …)

  57. Peter W. Horton Jr.

    I want it!

  58. Larisa LaBrant

    British intrigue for the holidays! Looking forward to this read, either from the library or by a lucky chance.

  59. vicki wurgler

    interesting relatives! sounds like a great murder mystery

  60. Patricia Nicklas

    Good review and sounds like a good mystery for the winter time

  61. Karen Cherubino

    I think this sounds like a great read for a cold winter night! Enjoyed the review.

  62. Robert Banning


    Max is back!

  63. Jeane Howell

    An MI5 agent who is now a vicor? What a good character that must be.
    The review surely makes me want to read this book.

    Thank you for having the drawing.

  64. Beth Talmage

    An agent turned vicar? This is exactly my type of book. Thanks for the introduction to a series I believe I’ll love.

  65. Ellen

    I love British mystries.

  66. kent w. smith

    I love “escaping’ into this story!

  67. Dee Phelps

    Ms. Malliet does a great job with A Fatal Winter. An interesting concept; an agent turned vicar. The setting is is well described and the cover art is gorgeous.

  68. Rex Bull

    I would love to see how the author uses this very traditional setting.

  69. Michelle Fidler

    Sounds like a good book. I know she has another series, too.

  70. Jean Delaney

    A new author to me for me to follow.

  71. Cheryl English

    This book has my attention!

  72. bobaloo

    Can’t wait to read!

  73. Melissa Keith

    I like Christmas theme books and this one sounds brill! I always look at books with snow on the cover because I’m in Texas where it’s too damn hot and I want to be transported to colder climes. Gingerbread. YUM! I’ll provide that if you’ll provide this delicious mystery! Thanks. 🙂

  74. Kimbrell Scheunert

    Oh, I loved Wicked Autumn! I can’t wait to read this one.

  75. Steven Wilber

    Sounds like an interesting book.

  76. Cindi Hoppes

    I enjoyed the first Max Tudor book and would love to win this
    second one…
    Thanks for the opportunity~

  77. Georgiann Hennelly

    sounds like a fantastic read.

  78. Marilyn Wons

    A Fatal Winter sounds very good – I would love to read this

  79. Amber

    I’d love to win!

  80. Karen Gonyea

    Sounds like a great read 🙂

    ktgonyea at

  81. Shannon Baas

    I’d like this.

  82. edwina lango

    sounds interesting

  83. Bob Keck

    I’m always ready for a great read.

  84. barbara studer

    sounds like a very good read!! thanks for the draw:)

  85. Edward Vandenberg

    This looks like a good well written book.

  86. Donna L

    Sounds like a good read.

  87. Daniel Morrell

    would like to read a mystery!

  88. Vicky Boackle

    this sounds quite interesting.

  89. Daisy1951

    I’ve been waiting patiently for the sequal – absolutely loved Wicked Autumn!!

  90. JULES M.

    sounds like a great book!

  91. Sheila Korman

    Sounds like a great read—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

  92. cheryl wong

    would love to read this

  93. Cheryl McCauley


  94. runner


  95. Joe Hauser

    Very nice!

  96. edq143

    sounds interesting

  97. Melissa Darwin

    Thanks for introducing me to a great new (for me) author~!

  98. Donna L Haley

    This book sounds like a good read.

  99. Clayton Klein

    Thanks for the great prizes !

  100. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  101. Ed Nemmers

    I would love to read G. M. Malliet!

  102. Susan Smith

    Sounds like a good read.

  103. Vikki Micco

    Sounds like a good book.

  104. Mary G

    I love mysteries and would love to read this one!

  105. Vernon Luckert

    Mysteries are my favorite reads, and this sounds like a good one!

  106. Michael Gonzales

    I’ve been meaning to read this author, but just have not gotten around to it. Hopefully I’ll win so I can.

  107. Jennifer Fajer

    This sounds exciting.

  108. Sand Lopez

    I would love to win this!

  109. Heather Cowley

    Excellent review. Hope I get to read this soon!

  110. Debra Kidle

    Sounds like an interesting read!

  111. Buddy Garrett

    It sounds like a great mystery. Thanks for the giveaway.

  112. Daniel Vice

    This looks great

  113. Marianna H Ballard

    Sounds like a good read!

  114. Hope Rabi

    Would love to read it!

  115. Helen Gibbs

    Sounds good.

  116. Lisa Pecora

    Sounds good would love this!

  117. Tarah Manning

    This sounds like a great book!

  118. Susan Smoaks

    i am looking for a traditional read, thanks!

  119. Ciara Bungo

    love mysteries! this looks great 🙂

  120. Donna L Haley

    Sounds like a good read

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