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

Jane Willan. Crooked Lane, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-68331-556-8
In Willan’s sprightly debut, Sister Agatha—librarian and aspiring mystery writer at Gwenafwy Abbey in North Wales—takes on an actual case, as opposed to those she invents in her fiction, after the Anglican abbey’s sexton is found dead under mounds of the abbey’s famed Heavenly Gouda cheese and the constable dismisses the death as an accident. With the bishop’s ultimatum to the Reverend Mother to turn around the abbey’s failing finances in only a few weeks, arson at the abbey, and sabotage of the abbey’s entry in the local cheese festival, Sister Agatha begins to suspect that more may lie behind the sexton’s death. The theft of a valuable communion set from the church of Sister Agatha’s sleuthing sidekick and fellow Anglican, Father Selwyn, also raises questions. Odd behavior by the bishop, the townspeople, the priest’s deacon, and the nuns causes Sister Agatha to wonder whether the perpetrator is perilously close to home. Aided by Father Selwyn, Sister Agatha sets out to discover the guilty. The rich life and personalities of this religious community, coupled with Sister Agatha’s devotion to the sage advice of a retired inspector turned podcaster, guarantee reader impatience for the next installment. Agent: Stephany Evans, FinePrint Literary. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/26/2018
Release date: 04/01/2018
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-68331-758-6
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