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The Shadow of Death
Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn #1
Jane Willan

Crooked Lane
April 10, 2018/ ISBN 978-1-68331-556-8
Mystery/Cozy/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

The nuns at Gwenafwy Abbey, located in Pryderi, a small village in North Wales, lead lives of devotion and prayer. They also have their own library, their own vegetable gardens and they make award-winning organic cheese called Heavenly Gouda. Each of the sisters is encouraged to follow her own dream once she turns 60 years of age. Sister Agatha's dream is to write a mystery novel, and she puts her sleuthing skills to the test when the Abbey's sexton dies under mysterious circumstances. Was it an accident or murder?

Chock full of interesting characters and a slew of twists and turns, I found this mystery to be highly entertaining. The mystery itself unfolds bit by bit, leading the reader to put the pieces of the puzzle together, only to mix things up and have to start over in a different direction.

I really like Sister Agatha and the other nuns, and found even Father Selwyn to be all too human. The only thing I didn't like, and I suppose it is a small thing, but it bothered me, is that there was an awful lot of eye-rolling going on, especially in the first part of the book.

This is, indeed, a charming debut, and the North Wales setting delivered me to the idea of a different pace of life. I read the book in three sittings, although I could easily have stretched it out further, or conversely, read it in one or two. It will appeal to traditional cozy lovers and is appropriate for all ages, teens and up. I'm delighted to have been given the chance to read this first in a new series and look forward to more of Sister Agatha's mysteries over the coming years.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Shadow of Death #1
Hour of Death #2


Reviewed 2018