Friday, October 9, 2015

"The Haunted Season"

G.M. Malliet is the author of the Max Tudor novels Wicked Autumn, A Fatal Winter, Pagan Spring, and A Demon Summer, all books shortlisted for the Agatha Award for best traditional mystery novel.

Mailliet applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Haunted Season, the fifth Max Tudor mystery, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Duck race,” the lord said, ruminating as a catlike smile played at the corners of his mouth. “They’ve been doing that since I was a boy here at the Hall. The children enjoy it, and I suppose it does foster goodwill.” But he sighed deeply, as if the thought of all those happy children was more than he could be expected to bear.

Something in his manner added to Max’s impression of a man concerned with doing the right thing, but only if observed or certain to be lauded or rewarded for his selflessness. If unobserved, all bets would be off. Max was just following a mental thread to the surveillance cameras that had become ubiquitous in the UK—who could say how much they promoted good or better behavior in its citizens? It might make a fascinating addition to his current sermon—when Lord Baaden-Boomethistle interrupted his thoughts by saying, “I suppose we must not let the village children down.”

“It’s the village adults who would be more disappointed, I think you’d find,” said Max, “The villagers make small side bets on the ducks they’ve sponsored, have a drink or two—all in good fun. It generates goodwill and of course it’s a most effective means of fundraising. Does this mean you are willing to allow the use of your land, Lord Baaden-Boomethistle?”

There was a finely timed pause, the only sound in the room the ticking of a clock on the mantel and the distant roar of a lawn mower—Max could see out the window a man disappearing down a small knoll in the grounds, pushing the machine before him. Lord Baaden-Boomethistle said, “I simply don’t know.”
Page 69 (of the manuscript) has the Rev. Max Tudor dragooned into trying to soften up the local lord of the manor. The villagers want Lord Baaden-Boomethistle to allow access to his ancestral lands, helping to host the annual village duck race for charity. This is rather typical of the sort of situation in which Max finds himself--he is by nature and by inclination a peacemaker, he wants his villagers and the entire world to be happy. Why it so often leads to murder is something Max simply cannot fathom.
Visit G. M. Malliet's website, blog, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: A Fatal Winter.

Writers Read: G. M. Malliet.

--Marshal Zeringue