Thursday 12 April 2018

The Shadow of Death (Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery #1) by Jane Willan

The Shadow of Death (Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery #1)
A charming and clever traditional mystery debut set at a bucolic Welsh convent, The Shadow of Death introduces Sister Agatha, a mystery-loving nun who finds herself in the midst of a real-life murder case.

The sisters of Gwenafwy Abbey have cherished their contemplative life—days spent in prayer, reflection, tending the Convent’s vegetable gardens and making their award-winning organic cheese, Heavenly Gouda. Life seems perfect, except for Sister Agatha, a die-hard mystery fan who despairs of ever finding any real life inspiration for her own novel. That is, until the Abbey’s sexton is found dead under an avalanche of gouda. Despite the reservations of the local constable, Sister Agatha is convinced it’s murder and the game is afoot.

Armed only with the notes she’s scribbled during her favorite podcast, How to Write a Mystery Novel, as well as a lessons learned from crime heroes ranging from Hercule Poirot to Stephanie Plum, Sister Agatha leads the nuns of Gwenafwy Abbey (and her unwitting sidekick, Father Selwyn) as they begin a race against time to resolve the death of Jacob, save the Abbey, exonerate a beloved postulant, and restore the good name of their cheese. Perfect for fans of G. M. Malliet and M. C. Beaton, The Shadow of Death is divine entertainment from a talented debut writer.  (Summary via Goodreads)

The Shadow of Death by Jane Willan is a refreshing change in the cozy mystery book category.  The story is centered around a convent and the main character, Sister Agatha, sets out to solve a murder that occured at the Abbey.  Of course, Sister Agatha seems the most likely candidate to investigate seeing as she is writing a mystery novel .....

I, for one, when I think about convents and nuns and the life within will admit that I have an "old-fashioned" outlook on what goes on.  I have this image of dark and dreary living quarters, limited color, a lot of silent prayer, everyone being very serious and even boring but that is not the case at all with the residents of Gwenafwy Abbey !!!  They have cell phones, they make their own cheese, Heavenly Gouda, to sell, Sister Agatha is writing a mystery novel, the Reverend Mother has a basketball on her desk and is known to shoot hoops outside the kitchen late at night, another nun is writing comic books, Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn visit a pub called Saints and Sinners, Father Selwyn drives very fast and the nuns drink wine  !!!

I loved so much about The Shadow of Death ..... it really is unlike other cozy mysteries.....and Jane Willan has taken her life and love as a pastor and combined it with her imagination and talent and have provided the reading world with a masterpiece !!  I could not put the book down..... I was drawn to every aspect of the story and really, really want a cup of Welsh Brew and a scone......

I highly recommend changing it up a bit and picking up your copy of The Shadow of Death and letting Willan take you on an eye-opening and pleasant journey.....

Review by Missi S.


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