The Shadow of Death: A Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery

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In The Shadow of Death, mystery-loving nun Sister Agatha of the Order of the Sacred Heart is caught up in a real-life murder in her abbey in North Wales.

In her debut cozy mystery, Jane Willan gives us a protagonist who is not your ordinary nun. Sister Agatha is outspoken, loves a good detective novel, and aspires to write her own one day. Armed with only her notebook from writing classes and her trusty, if reluctant, sidekick, Father Selwyn, she jumps at the chance to solve the mystery of sexton Jacob Traherne’s murder when he is found crushed beneath a shelf full of the abbey’s award-winning organic Heavenly Gouda. Unfortunately, a good deal of her time must be spent trying to make sure that their cheese makes it to the judges in order to save the abbey from ruin and keep the nuns together. Many plots make for much interest!

Having lived in North Wales for a few years and loving it so much that I consider it the home of my heart, I devour anything I can find that relates in some way. Being a lover of cozy mysteries as well, this book seemed right up my proverbial alley. Unfortunately, there is one thing that holds me back from giving it high marks. It is quite detail-heavy at the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, Willan is a brilliant writer of description. Her description of Pryderi certainly stirs that feeling of hiraeth as only those who love Wales can understand or convey. However, in the first part of the book, she describes not only the abbey and the nuns but the town, the cheese, and more. Perhaps leaving some of the description for later would make it a bit more readable early on. That said, overall, I found the novel to be quite a fun cozy mystery, and I look forward to seeing what else Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn get up to.


Reviewed By:

Author Jane Willan
Star Count 4.5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 336 pages
Publisher Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date 2018-Apr-10
ISBN 9781683315568
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2019
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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