Perfect for fans of G. M. Malliet and M. C. Beaton, The Shadow of Death is divine entertainment from a talented debut writer.
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.
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.