finished reading

This new-to-me cozy series has an unusual protagonist: a former MI5 agent turned Anglican priest.  It is written with kind of a formal style which gives it a timelessness--so that references to Hugh Grant or social media almost seem out of place.  But in the end, that lends to the cheekyness of the book.  This first of the series spent a lot of time world-building, and I'm hoping that more books in the series will be faster-paced without needing that detail.  There are several fun secondary characters but I really want more Max Tudor!

From the publisher:
Having spent almost three years in the idyllic village of Nether Monkslip, Max Tudor is well acclimated to his post as vicar at the church of St. Edwold’s.  This quaint town seems to be the perfect new home for Max, who has fled a harrowing past serving in the British counter-intelligence agency, the MI5. Now he has found a measure of peace among urban escapees and yoga practitioners, artists and New Agers. But this serenity is quickly shattered when the highly vocal and unpopular president of the Women’s Institute turns up dead at the Harvest Fayre. The death looks like an accident, but Max’s training as a former agent kicks in, and before long he suspects foul play. 

Max has ministered to the community long enough to be familiar with alliances and animosities among the residents, but this tragedy confounds him.   It is impossible to believe anyone in his lovely hamlet capable of the crime, and yet given the victim, he must acknowledge that almost everyone in town had probably fantasized about the poor woman’s death.  As Max becomes more intricately involved, the investigation stirs up memories he’d rather not revisit; the demons from his past which led him to Nether Monkslip and the reason why he is so heavily invested in keeping it from harm.   

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