As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Published by Constable & Robinson Crime, 18
July 2013. ISBN: 978-1-4721-0623-0
Wanda Batton-Smythe is
the forceful and extremely unpopular leader of the Women's Institute in Nether
Monkslip. The only person who appears to have any affection for her is her
long-suffering husband, Major Batton-Smyth, whose army career was distinguished
by his inefficiency. Even so, the couple's relationship seems to the suffering
from the strains of his retirement and Wanda has been considering whether she
is wasted on such a small village and upon such a dull husband. Their son,
Jasper, a promising artist, (although not yet so successful that he does not
need financial hand-outs from his parents) has not been seen in the village
since he grew old enough to leave.
As the autumn days grow
shorter and the Harvest Festival Fair approaches, the villagers' dislike of
Wanda's bossy self-aggrandisement increases, and in many cases verges on
hatred. The vicar, Max Tudor, is aware of the feelings of unrest but does not
realise how deep and dangerous it has become. Max was an MI5 agent whom, after
the death of his partner, left MI5 and took holy orders. He regards his parish
as a place of refuge from the evil he has witnessed.
Then, in the midst of the
fair, Wanda, who is allergic to peanuts, dies of anaphylactic shock, Max is
convinced that she has been murdered. The police concur with this view and
allow Max to help investigate the crime, keeping him informed of their
discoveries. Max goes from house to house, talking to his parishioners and
attempting to discover who has introduced the serpent of murder into his Eden. Most of the people
he speaks to have some sort of motive and nobody has an unimpeachable alibi.
However, on the day of Wanda's funeral, the evidence slots into place and Max
and the killer confront each other in St Edwold's Church.
Wicked Autumn is a very slow-paced, gentle, cosy crime story,
which is more concerned with beautifully crafted and detailed descriptions of
the old-fashioned, stereotypical, English village and the people who live
there, rather than the horror and violence of murder and the details of
investigation. It is a pleasant, undemanding read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron.
G M Mallietwon the Agatha Christie for best first novel for Death
of a Cozy Writer, which initially won the Malice Domestic Grant..
Carol Westronis a successful short story writer and a Creative
Writing teacher.She is the moderator
for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.Her crime novels are set both in contemporary
and Victorian times. The Terminal
Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published