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A Demon Summer

(Max Tudor #4)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,456 ratings  ·  218 reviews
In A Demon Summer, someone has been trying to poison the 15th Earl of Lislelivet. Since Lord Lislelivet has a gift for making enemies, no one--particularly his wife--finds this too surprising. What is surprising is that the poison was discovered in a fruitcake made and sold by the Handmaids of St. Lucy of Monkbury Abbey. Max Tudor, vicar of Nether Monkslip and former MI5 ...more
Hardcover, 382 pages
Published October 7th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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Helen I find the americanisms annoying and mildly distracting, but I enjoy this series despite them, possibly because it depicts clergy in tune with the…moreI find the americanisms annoying and mildly distracting, but I enjoy this series despite them, possibly because it depicts clergy in tune with the modern world, like those I know.
Incidentally, I'm Australian.(less)
Kat The only reason that you might need to know about a Tudor for this book is in relation to the dissolution of the monasteries and convents under Henry…moreThe only reason that you might need to know about a Tudor for this book is in relation to the dissolution of the monasteries and convents under Henry VIII. I suspect you'd be able to understand the plot of the book without it though. As Lorraine points out, the book's detective just happens to have Tudor as a last name. (less)

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Ivonne Rovira
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed all of G.M. Malliet’s novels featuring the handsome, perspicacious, and kind Anglican priest Max Tudor; however, while I enjoy the two that were set in Tudor’s own village of Nether Monkslip, Father Max really comes into his own when he’s away from his home turf, as in Demon Summer and A Fatal Winter.

Tudor, a former MI-5 agent turned country vicar, answers an urgent summons from his bishop, who sends him to snoop out the doings at Monkbury Abbey, a convent of the Anglo-Catholic nuns of
Lisa Ahlstedt
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
The story was OK, concerning the death of a man in a convent that takes in occasional lodgers, but the denoument went on forever. All of the principle characters were brought together in one room (in the greatest cozy mystery tradition) but then then Max Tudor, the detective investigating the murder, proceeds to go on and on (and on!) for ages, pointing the finger of guilt at first one character and then another before finally revealing the truth. Of course, by this time, the reader has dozed ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved the first three Max Tudor novels, but found this one to be rough going. This one removes Max from the village entirely, placing him in an abbey, where a murder has been committed. In part because we don't get the characters of the village, and in part because the mystery is resolved by a deus ex machina letter, rather than by Max actually figuring it out based on clues available to the reader, this book isn't nearly as clever or charming as the first three. I'll give her another try if ...more
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, audio
This superb series has covered all the seasons with this fourth book. It's an awesomely humorous and mysterious book that combines Agatha Christie, Louise Penny and Dan Brown----and Malliet mentions all three authors' works within this book so cleverly too.

Former MI-5 operative Max Tutor, is called upon by his Bishop to travel to Monksbury Abby to check on some unusual financial issues with the records from the Handmaids of St Lucy nunnery. Max also finds himself investigating a suspicious
Debra Hennessey
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was ok
Not what I expected after reading the other Max Tudor books. I love cozies but this one was so cozy it was like a sleeping pill. Over long, over complicated, no fun.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This is the first Max Tudor mystery I have read, and while I will probably go back and read one more just to see if I am any more intrigued, so far, the most I can do is sort of shrug and say,"bleh." The whole idea of an Anglican priest with a past as a spy is, well, far-fetched, but at the same time fun, and his love affair with a neo-pagan, is the same way: totally far fetched but sort of attention getting. The setting in a medieval-leaning abbey? Okay. But good grief the dragged out nature of ...more
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Lord Lislelivet claims he was poisoned by a fruit cake he received when he stayed at Monksbury Abbey, Max Tudor's Bishop asks him to investigate. The nuns at the abbey make fruit cakes for sale to guests and visitors among other things and provide accommodation for people on retreats.

Surprised that the Bishop has actually asked him to use his sleuthing abilities and worried that he is leaving fiancée, Awena on her own so close to the birth of their child, Max goes to stay at the Abbey for
Sherry Mackay
May 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This is an odd mix of American and English. For instance the teenage girl uses the word 'naff' - I really don't think an American girl would use it. The spelling seems to be a mix of both, strangely. The whole thing is a bit flabby; you just want the author to get on with it. Not much happens, and there is lots of telling not showing. It's hard to understand the relationship between father max and his lover. We are told they are madly in love but we don't see much of it. Nevertheless he has made ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Father Max Tudor and his beloved, Awena are getting ready to marry during a handfasting ceremony (accompanied by a civil service.) However, before this happens, Max's Bishop calls him for a special duty. Find out what is going on at the nearby Abbey.

The Abbey is centuries old and has existed through many perilous times. None, more perilous says Lord Lislelivet than the attempted poisoning of himself. Thus the Bishop is concerned that the reputation of the good Order of St. Lucy not be
I enjoy the clever and eccentric characters in G. M. Malliet's Max Tudor mysteries and even learning the backstories of each and every one of the nuns at the abbey where the murder has taken place. The "reveal" of the murderer, on the other hand, - the "who" and "why" - dragged on for far too long. I did enjoy the book's upbeat and hopeful ending.
One thing I have noticed about this series, though . . . the murder victims are downright evil and completely without redeeming qualities; while the
Demon Summer is currently the exact right speed. It’s a genteel, pastoral wank about architecture, complete with wreathing mists, stone walls, heavy wooden doors and cellars, and possibly at some point, but not for another 100 pages, likely, some poisoned fruitcake.

Minus two stars because the ending absolutely violates one of the rules of fair play in detective fiction. At the time, though, they’re all sitting in a well-appointed and comfortably furnished room looking out over the lamb pastures,
Tory Wagner
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am really enjoying this British mystery series featuring Max Tudor a former M15 turned priest who helps DI Cotton solve crimes in a scenic British town. In this book, Max helps to solve a mystery taking place at St. Lucy of Monkbury Abbey. The 15th Earl of Lislelivet has been poisoned with a fruitcake sold by the nuns and Max enters the Abbey to help apprehend the perpetrator. This is a delightful British cozy with engaging characters.
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hoopla-audio, 2017
2.5 stars. I read this series more for the Max Tudor and Awena romance angle than for the mystery. Since Max was apart from Awena in this book, I found it less enjoyable. The mystery just went on for forever and in the end I really didn't care who did it.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
It was too slow. Very few clues along the way or ability to confirm your own thoughts. A lot of trouble to talk about the lambs and yet no sign it was a clue to Max. A lot of words spent on the trip to the library and little accomplished. I don’t know. It’s my first of her books for me to read. It just didn’t fire me up.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good mystery taking place mostly in a nunnery. My complaint is that the book needed better editing! There were too many typos throughout, including putting the wrong name at least once. As there are a lot of characters to keep track of, that was a little confusing.
Renita D'Silva
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just fab!
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was ok

“Murky” might be the best way to sum this up. It’s very unclear what the initial mystery is, who the characters are, when and why people are hanging around, why it’s so important Father Max be on the case, or what, exactly, the case is.

Obviously characters can be shifty and shady and not forthcoming – it is a mystery story, after all – but for the narration to have so much circumlocution just left me tilting my head in confusion over what on earth was going on and constantly wondering if I
A Demon Summer is not an easy book to review. I'm a big fan of G.M. Malliet's traditional mysteries. And, I love Max Tudor, the MI5 agent turned Anglican vicar. The villagers in the small English village of Nether Monkslip are charming, hardworking, idiosyncratic characters. Max's ongoing relationship with Awena Owen, the owner of Goddessspell, is fun to watch. And, it's now gone too far for Max to keep it a secret from the bishop. "Max's bishop had so far been spared the news that his most ...more
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the third Father Max Tudor mystery. We met him in "Wicket Autumn", got to know him better in "A Fatal Winter," and watched him fall in love and solve another mystery in "A Pagan Spring." Now it is a hot summer - much hotter than most of Britain has been accustomed to. Max is anxiously looking forward to his marriage to Awena, who is, ironically, a practicing pagan. She has insisted on a "handfasting" as opposed to a church wedding. She is also VERY pregnant. Max is also anxious about ...more
Debbie Maskus
Apr 04, 2015 rated it liked it
As Louise Penny does in The Beautiful Mystery, G M Malliet sets the story in a religious stronghold. Malliet sets her story in a nunnery, while Penny set her story in a monastery. Both stories outline the simple life within the walls, and the difficulties that must be avoided. The livelihood of the group demands loss on individuality. Assigned positions remain for life or when the sister can no longer serve. These women live without telephones and televisions, and maintain periods of utter ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My Grade - 90% = A-


I was unable to get #3 in this series (Spring), so I had to skit it and read this one first.

Another good Father Max(en) Tudor murder mystery set near the Cornish town of Nether Monkslip.

Max is sent by his bishop to investigate the goings on at a local Abbey (population - 42 nuns - with names such as Dame Fruitcake and Dame Pet).

There are two problems: 1, a guest has gotten sick from a fruitcake containing poison berries that was left for him as a gift,
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who enjoy British mysteries with a touch of Hercule Poiret.
Enthralling!! I felt as though I was back in England looking through an old abbey and visualing all these character and at least one relic. Boy, do I miss England ! This 'Max Tuder' mystery was much more involved than the others, but I liked it very much. Ending with the handfasting ceremony was quite touching. I learned about this ceremony when Harold II of England took Edith Swan-neck as his fandfasted wife until he officially became Harold II. While this mystery took place at Monksbury Abbey ...more
Kevin LaGree
Mar 22, 2015 rated it liked it
The fourth in this series. I found it tired, contrived, and formulaic; the weakest of the four. Is the final chapter a hint that the series has ended?
Susan Wallace
Mar 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: overdrive, audio
Another enjoyable book in this series, I did get a kick out of all the mentions of Leonard Cohen now I want to re listen to his book.
Ellen Byron
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it, as always.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Sometimes the unexpected happens, and I read a series out of order, much as I try to avoid this. This fourth novel is set in the time before Max Tudor, former-MI5-turned-Anglican-priest-but-still-sleuthing, "marries" Awena Owen, Nether Monkslip's own much beloved goddess. As the plot develops, Malliet gently inserts some of Tudor's back story in MI5 and DI Cotton, with whom Tudor is frequently called to collaborate in a murder investigation. (In the last few books I have read, she hasn't done ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a more interesting book than some of its predecessors in the series. However, it had very strong overtones of Louise Penny - including frequent repetition of the phrase "how the light gets in" from the Cohen poem, and also the title of one of Penny's novels. It's not clear what this has to do with anything other than to invoke (or pay homage) to Penny's work. Max Tudor, the former MI5 agent turned priest, is sent by his bishop to Monksbury Abbey. Lord Lislelivet claims to have been ...more
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it
In this homage to Dame Agatha Christie, author Malliet needed to remember that although Dame Agatha led readers down the garden path, at least she strewed clues along the way! The solution to this mystery was made up of whole cloth, with long-lost parents, hidden identities and secret treasure in a buried crypt, none of which is even mentioned in the first section of the book! With no definitive murder method and several other unanswered questions, it was very unsatisfactory at the end. Also, it ...more
Louise Culmer
May 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
A long and very slow moving mystery set in a nunnery. The detective is Max Tudor, a former MI5 agent now an Anglican vicar (though addressed, confusingly as Father Max - since when have C of E vicars been called 'Father'?). he is sent by his bishop to investigate dodgy goings on at the nunnery, someone has been poisoned with fruitcake made by the nuns. then eventually someone dies. Max Tudor ambles through the story having long conversations with a variety of different suspects. It takes a long ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was a slog for me. The characters were uninteresting and boring, the plot sluggish. At the end of the day, the amount of research that went into establishing motive and the backgrounds of each character is a leap in belief for me. Lacking internet and cell phone access, and with no mention of any research completed by Cotton's staff, it's improbable. I do like Cotton and Max, unless he's driveling over the goddess Awena and going on endlessly about her perfection in all things. The whole ...more
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G.M. Malliet is the Agatha Award-winning author of the St. Just and Max Tudor mysteries as well as the standalone suspense novel WEYCOMBE. She lives on the East Coast of the US but all of her books are set in the UK, her home away from home for part of every year.

She received an M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge and did further graduate work at Oxford University. Upon her return to the US,

Other books in the series

Max Tudor (7 books)
  • Wicked Autumn (Max Tudor #1)
  • A Fatal Winter (Max Tudor #2)
  • Pagan Spring (Max Tudor #3)
  • The Haunted Season (Max Tudor #5)
  • Devil's Breath (Max Tudor #6)
  • In Prior's Wood (Max Tudor #7)
“Oh please tell me we're not doing the Poirot thing again — the suspects in the library with the candlestick or whatever'.

Max looked at him [DCI Cotton]. 'Fruitcake in this case. And what would you prefer? A car chase? It’s the most efficient way to flush out a killer, as Dame Agatha Christie well knew.”
More quotes…