cover image Devil’s Breath: A Max Tudor Mystery

Devil’s Breath: A Max Tudor Mystery

G.M. Malliet. Minotaur, $25.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-09278-6

Agatha Award–winner Malliet abandons subtlety in her middling sixth Max Tudor mystery (after 2015’s The Haunted Season). Max’s friend on the local police force, Detective Chief Inspector Cotton, views the cleric-cum-detective as “an extraordinary man of seemingly endless patience, knowledge, integrity, and bravery.” And in keeping with the now larger-than-life qualities of the lead, the recipes of Max’s cookbook-author wife are being used at Buckingham Palace. Max looks into the death of an aging movie star named Margot Browne (not the only heavy-handed All About Eve reference), who was a guest on the yacht of a big-time film director. The case offers a classic golden age setup, but unfortunately Max’s sleuthing skills aren’t at their best. At one point, after learning that Margot’s corpse, recovered from the waters off Monkslip-super-Mare, bore strangulation marks, he still, bafflingly, speculates that she may have been accidentally poisoned and her body dumped overboard to cover up the mishap. [em]Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary. (Apr.) [/em]