Fresh Meat: Pagan Spring by G. M. Malliet

Pagan Spring by G. M. Malliet
Pagan Spring by G. M. Malliet
Pagan Spring by G. M. Malliet is the third book in the Max Tudor traditional mystery series (available October 8, 2013).

In the third installment of the Max Tudor series, our namesake hero is starting to get a little weary of bringing murderers to justice. After all, he retired from MI5 and entered the church because he was looking to solve problems of a much less deadly nature, even if those problems are often just as serious to the people involved. Now that he’s solved two murders since his arrival at Nether Monkslip, he’s quite content to focus on tending to his flock, expanding his priestly influence and being in (discreet, or so he believes,) love with Awena Owen, the unconventional owner of the local New Age shop. Nether Monkslip isn’t the kind of town to find joy in violent deaths either, much preferring to focus on occurrences as benignly exciting as the achievements of the local writer’s group, the opening of a trendy new restaurant and the return of a native son who made good on the London stage.

But then, of course, another murderer strikes. The local police inspector, DCI Cotton, trusts Max’s instincts, having worked with him on the previous murders. Others aren’t as enthused by Max’s involvement, or so he fears. When Max is summoned to meet the local bishop soon after news of the latest murder breaks, he braces himself for a dressing down, on either this subject or his relationship with the decidedly un-Anglican Awena. Fortunately for him, the interview goes much better than expected, at least on the murder front:

With the exquisite timing for which the man was famous, the bishop turned, just as Max was beginning to relax, and said, “We can’t have any more of this, Max. Whatever is going on, you have to get to the bottom of it. Root it out, as it were. With your special skills, you should be of invaluable assistance to the police. I wonder,” he added softly, after an appraising glance at Max. “I wonder… Has it ever occured to you God may have brought you to Nether Monkslip for a purpose? For this purpose?”

Max could think of no reply. It seemed to him a highly doubtful hypothesis. On later reflection, he would find he didn’t much care for the idea, for didn’t it mean more people might be murdered in Nether Monkslip?

Given the go-ahead, Max races to solve the crime before the perpetrator can strike again. Along the way, he uncovers more secrets than he ever suspected might be hidden by the inhabitants of such a quiet village, including one that dates back decades to the horrors of World War II.

While I greatly enjoy how the gentle humor of the Max Tudor series serves as deft counterpoint to the murders each book revolves around, a large part of the appeal, to me, lies in the more serious contemplation of religion, mortality and, most of all, love. Max’s remarkable background allows for diverse episodes to be contrasted to excellent effect, such as when he considers the power of his feelings for Awena:

In his undercover days, Max had on several occasions pretended to be married. The pretense had helped him avoid tricky situations where he was being invited to party with the bad guys. He’d often been tested but had found that establishing the rules early on made his later refusals believable. The worst criminals had instantly understood when he said he loved his wife, a fact that had astonished Max every time it happened. They would not have believed him if he’s claimed ethical scruples, of course, but love was the great universal, even for men who dealt in piping the sewage of terrorism into the country.

Of course, the path of true love never did run smooth, but I finished the book confident in Max and Awena’s integrity and mutual devotion. I suppose that really means that I’m confident in G. M. Malliet’s ability to tell a thoughtful, nuanced story, though I am hoping that the next book in the series has more from Suzanna Winship and DCI Cotton (I am not above saying I ship this pair.) It’s almost a shame that murder pretty much has to be a part of the equation, though Ms Malliet handles these cozy mysteries with intelligence and a keen sensitivity to what would drive a soul to such extreme lengths. It’s always nice to read a mystery novel that makes you care as much for the supporting cast as it does for those directly involved.


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This Sweepstakes has ended.

To enter for a chance to win a hardcover copy of  Pagan Spring by G. M. Malliet, make sure you're a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.

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!

Pagan Spring Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.  A purchase does not improve your chances of winning.  Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry.  To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry  at beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) October 8, 2013. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET October 15, 2013. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law.  Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Doreen Sheridan is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C. She microblogs on Twitter @dvaleris.

Read all posts by Doreen Sheridan for Criminal Element.


  1. Jeffrey Tretin

    My kind of book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  2. Pam Howell

    Looks like a great read. Thanks.

  3. ravensfan

    Sounds great. Would love to win this.

  4. barbara stenby

    I want to read this book SO BADLY!!!!!

  5. Suzanne Gonneville

    “…highly doubtful hypothesis…?” I know we’ll find out differently.

  6. Ilene Harris

    I hope I win, it looks good.

  7. jane

    haven’t read this series yet but glad to start!

  8. Anne Muller

    This is a new to me series too. Sounds good though.

  9. Barbara Bibel

    Sounds like an interesting series. I’d love to read it.

  10. vickie dailey

    this sounds pretty good – If I win I will have to pick up the first two in this series – interesting that a MI5 member would become a cleric

  11. Robin Weatherington

    [u][b]Would love to read this book.[/b][/u]

  12. Robin Weatherington

    [u][b]Would love to read this book.[/b][/u]

  13. Monicalibrarian

    I have to confess I haven’t read this series, but my Mom is a huge fan, so I am entering for her.

  14. Gordon Bingham

    Not familiar with this one but looks good…

  15. Harriette

    Big crush on Max! Love this series. I’d love to have my own copy for keeps. Thanks.

  16. Tiffany Duncan

    This looks really good!

  17. Arun Kumar

    Enjoyed reading the first one in the series. Yet to catch up with the second one.

  18. Pat D

    I have really enjoyed Max Tudor’s previous two mysteries. I’m sure Pagan Spring will be as satisfying. He is an interesting character with his two disparate careers.

  19. patricia lambert

    would love to read this my kind of book thanks for the chance

  20. PatD

    Same as above.

  21. Monica Williams

    I have to confess I haven’t read this series, but my Mom is a huge fan, so I am entering for her.

  22. Bob Alexander

    I love GM’s books.

  23. Erin Hartshorn

    I haven’t run across this series before, but it sounds delightful.

  24. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like it will be a good read. Would love to win!

  25. Jessica Jones

    I’ve enjoyed this series so far very much!

  26. Pat Dupuy

    Okay, I think I’m signed in now. Still the same; Max Tudor’s mysteries are very fun to read and he is an interesting character, having gone from being a spy to being an Anglican priest.

  27. MARY Mclain

    Sounds interesting and I would like to read it.

  28. Jane K

    Love a good mystery and this one sounds like fun.

  29. Joanne Mielczarski

    I would love to win this book.

  30. Karl Stenger

    I love the series and would love to read the new installment

  31. L L

    Nice cover

  32. Richard Derus

    Who could possibly resist a title like PAGAN SPRING?! I can’t.

  33. Doris C. Losey

    Enjoyed the first two titles in series.

  34. Mark Williams

    love to win

  35. Marlyn Beebe

    I think Max Tudor is great, and I’d love to read his latest adventure. Plus, the title is grand!

  36. susan beamon

    Another new to me series. Hope this is as good as others i’ve found here.

  37. Johanna Bouchard

    Sounds great! Hope I win! 😉

  38. Shawn Simmons

    I’ve been looking forward to this book! thanks for the giveaway.

  39. Saundra K. Warren

    another new to me author

  40. Barbara Lima

    A priest named Monkslip? Love it!

  41. Mainer207

    I’m currently reading A FATAL WINTER so I’m really looking forward to PAGAN SPRING! I love Max!

  42. Marianne Stevens

    I’m currently reading A FATAL WINTER so I’m really looking forward to PAGAN SPRING! I love Max!

  43. laura mccaffery

    Max Tudor books are always a great read. The clerical theme makes them interesting in a different way.

  44. theresa norris

    This is a new to me author.

  45. Sally Kohlenberg

    really looks good

  46. angel

    this sounds good!

  47. Kimbrell Scheunert

    I can’t wait to read more about Max!

  48. Shannon Scott

    I would love to win this.

  49. Shannon Baas

    I would love to read this.

  50. Mary L Allen

    As an Episcopal Cleric (the American branch 0f the Chruch) I have a particular love for mysteries with clergy! I would love to continue reading this fine series.

  51. Rebecca Brothers

    I’ve been wanting to check out this series!

  52. Sandi Lewis

    So excited a new book is out!

  53. Sonia Grgas

    I like this series, would love to win the book.

  54. Maryann Cook

    I’ve read every book by this author and have been looking forward to this one. Good series.

  55. Patricia Nicklas

    I’m looking forward to the third in this series. Thanks for the giveaway!

  56. Mary Ann Brady

    Sounds great. Thx.

  57. Irene Menge

    Sounds like a marvelous read! How have I missed these?

  58. James Devlin

    I have read her earlier series (which I liked a lot), but none of these yet.

  59. Michael Carter

    Great giveaway.
    Please enter me.

  60. Janice

    Sounds like a good book. I love mysteries. Would love to win. (fingers crossed)

  61. Tricha Leary


  62. Marni G

    This will be the next winner in this intriguing series, one I always review favorably on Auntie M Writes. Would love to be able to add a review of the newest~

  63. susan Morrison

    I loved the first 2 books in the series, can not wait to read this one.

  64. Laurence Coven

    This would be a great one to win for my first win ever.

  65. Andrew Kuligowski

    I am just finishing “Blasphemy” on Audio CD – Douglas Preston’s 2nd book featuring ex-CIA agent turned monk turned detective Wyman Ford (after Tyrannosaur Canyon and before Impact). I wonder how (if) these two characters are similar, and how pronounced their differences might be.

  66. charles mitelhaus

    another great one!

  67. Sheila Korman

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

  68. Deanna Stillings

    I really enjoyed the first two books in this series.

  69. Nancy Pate

    I like this series and am totally crushing on Max!

  70. david hartzog

    Thanks for offering this chance at this book.

  71. Anita Yancey

    Sounds like a great mystery. I would love to win a copy. Thanks for this chance.

  72. Nancy Zahar

    I’d like to read this one, thanks.

  73. Julie McDonough

    I can’t wait to read this. Thank-you for the great giveaway.

  74. Rosemary Krejsa

    I have read this series yet but I’m looking forward to trying this author. Thank you for this giveaway.

  75. Marisa Young

    I love this author. Can’t wait to read her latest.

  76. ronframpton

    looks good

  77. Anna Mills

    Sometimes all it takes is a great cover to get me to pick it up. Just lovely!

  78. Patricia Mangum

    [b]another great read! cudos[/b]

  79. MaryC

    Love Max Tudor.

  80. Cairine Stade

    You can’t beat a good mystery can you?

  81. Patty

    I have loved the first two books and look forward to reading this one. Love the cover art!!

  82. Joyce Benzing

    New book, Yay!

  83. Jeanne Agee

    I haven’t read any of the series but sounds like a great one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  84. Marie-Louise Molloy

    [b]Love the series and want to continue![/b]

  85. Anne Joyce

    sounds like a great read…thanks!

  86. Kathryn Baxter

    Oh, to wander back to Nether Monkslip for another delightful episode of Max Tudor and his crazy, yet endearing, flock would be my delight. I have enjoyed the series thus far and would welcome the opportunity to read a hard copy version of the next installment in this series. Thanks for offering this opportunity to us.

  87. Norma

    Have read and enjoyed the first two. So glad to hear the third one is out. Thanks for the chance to win.

  88. Desmond Warzel

    Count me in, please!

  89. Janice Milliken

    Think I will read all three!

  90. Judy S

    Great series!

  91. Brenda Tucker

    Odd career change, but I can’t wait to read it.

  92. Sharon Shumway

    Clergy/Crime, I love the combination. It works for me every time. Can’t wait to read it.

  93. Sharon Shumway

    Clergy/Crime, I love the combination. It works for me every time. Can’t wait to read it.

  94. Jeffrey Malis

    Looking forward to reading book #3… I appreciate the opportunity!

  95. Joyce Mitchell

    Thanks for the review & the chance to win.

  96. Judith Barnes

    Pagans, MI5, and an Anglican priest–my kind of mystery.

  97. Mildred Bromberg

    Would love to win!

  98. Florry M. D.

    Nice cover, intriguing story! Would love to read it!

  99. Pat Murphy

    New series. Just what I need for the fall. Count me in.

  100. Lisa Richardson

    New author to me, would love to win this!

  101. Richard Edmundson


  102. Phoenix

    I like smart mysteries.

  103. Vicky Boackle

    i would love to read this.

  104. ronframpton

    would love to read this

  105. elizabeth findlay

    MI5 agent who is now a priest still fighting crime, SWEET!! I have got to check this book out.

  106. vicki wurgler

    I love a good mystery book

  107. Allison Moyer

    Sounds like a great read!

  108. Bruce Hamilton

    Looks like a great twist would love to win

  109. peb

    Looking forward to reading this!

  110. Paula Breger

    Looking forward to this!

  111. Suzanne Rorhus

    I love her work!

  112. Anne Slater

    I’ll read anything that Malliet writes!

  113. Kate Lyons

    I enjoy this series – and would love to win!

  114. tony parsons

    cool luv 2 read this book

  115. Susan Mahaffey

    Fascinating! I have not read this series but will have to even if I don’t win! However I hope I do!!



  117. LS

    Ready to win this and be really scared!

  118. runner

    Groovy Pagan Spring!

  119. Julie N

    I feel lucky

  120. Heather Martin

    A really good series.

  121. Tracy Lech

    I always love a good murder mystery!

  122. Jenne Turner

    Thanks for the heads up on this series. It sounds like a great one. I love Elizabeth George and Charles Todd and this author sounds like he would fit right in with my favorites.



  124. Jane Schwarz

    Sounds like a great read. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  125. lynette thompson

    I hope I’m signed in, this looks like a wonderful book. Sometimes its so hard to enter your sweepstakes. I love books.

  126. Karen Cherubino

    I’ve seen some really great reviews for this book; it’s definitely on my wish list. Thanks for the chance.

  127. Ellen

    British and mystery I’m in.

  128. randi oaklief

    I love reading authors I’ve never read! Like opening a present!

  129. Cheryl English

    Sounds spectacular. Please enter me.

  130. Linda Knowles

    I’d love to read this.

  131. Kermit Crissey

    I need a book to read!!!!!


    Great gift for my husband!

  133. keith james

    Thanks for another chance.

  134. John Misiak

    I would love to read this book

  135. Janet Gould

    This book looks great!

  136. Beth Talmage

    I’m always glad to discover a new-to-me series.

  137. Jay Chappie

    Looks good. I like series that take place in England. Don’t know why, just do.

  138. Karen Barnett

    Sounds terrific!

  139. judy oliver

    Sounds like a different “hero. ” He has my attention.

  140. Tony Parsons

    luv 2 read any of these books

  141. Vernon Luckert

    Looks like a good read!

  142. Katharine Ott

    It’s been awhile since I’ve gotten involved in a series – this one sounds great!

  143. Roger Simmons

    im in like flynn 🙂 Thanks for the chance.

  144. Irene Menge

    Sounds like a marvelous read. Would love to win.

  145. Donna Bruno

    I’m new to this series but would love to win a copy!

  146. Linda Peters

    would love to read this, thanks

  147. jason fiske

    Sounds like a great readD

  148. jason fiske

    Sounds like a great readD

  149. Mike Rogers

    Nice looking book.

  150. Tawney Mazek

    And so I find another series to be investigated – and it sounds good.

  151. Elizabeth Bevins

    Thanks for then entry. I would love to read this one.

  152. Shauntea Crutcher

    Seems like something I would enjoy reading.

  153. Debra Kidle

    Sounds great!

  154. Daniel Morrell

    sounds like a good one!

  155. David Kidle

    I find this interesting, and would like to read this book.

  156. Ed Nemmers

    I would like to read the work of G.M. Malliet!

  157. Johanna Appel

    I’m a huge fan of G.M. Malliet and would love to win!

  158. DebbieC

    Sounds like a wonderful book, would love to win 🙂


  159. kathy pease

    Thank you for the great giveaway please count me in 🙂

  160. Rickie Hinrichs

    Agatha winner impressive

  161. Cheryl McCauley

    Loooooooks to be good read.

  162. Andra Dalton

    Thanks for chance to enter contest & good luck to all that enter:0)

  163. Clydia DeFreese

    I do not know this author. I’d love to read this book.

  164. Bob Keck

    Sounds good – like a perfect vacation read.

  165. Diane Stedner

    Would really like the chance to read this book. Have not read the author before but it sounds like an interesting read.

  166. Brenda Elsner

    Sounds like a great read!! Count me in!

  167. Sand Lopez

    I’d love to read this!

Comments are closed.