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Summary

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 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.

©2019 Jane Willan (P)2019 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Shadow of Death

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Entertaining listening

I really enjoy this series and am looking forward to Book 3 - not sure why Book 2 arrived before Book 1. I immediately re- listened to Book 2 again after I finished Book 1. The setting in North Wales appeals to my Welsh heritage and I know some of the real places such as Wrexham and St Asaph well. The nuns are an interesting bunch and I would definitely sample the cheese! The Bishop is a formidable lady but Sister Agatha has the measure of her. The only thing that gives away this book is not written by a native speaker is the occasional ‘gotten’, ‘sidewalk’ and ‘dove’ which is American English, not English English.

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  • Beatrice
  • 28-12-20

Pleasant Surprise

The Shadow of Death is a pleasant surprise. The characters are engaging, the dialogue witty and the mystery is entertaining. I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next boo in this series.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Andrea L
  • 24-11-20

Very Good Characters

I really enjoyed listening to this story because Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn make a great pair of volunteer detectives and are good characters. I liked how Sister Agatha refers to a character in one of Janet Evanovich's books (one of my favorite author's). I look forward to listening to the next audiobook in the future.

8 people found this helpful

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  • ..
  • 20-04-19

How Lovely!

Enjoyable! A sweet escape from the times. Thank you for a lovely story. Well read.

6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chantal Noordeloos
  • 18-10-20

Would have been better as a children’s book

It’s a very sweet story. It could use a good edit by a professional editor, but the story is entertaining. The characters are a little two dimensional, but not without charm. It reads very much like a children’s mystery story. Had it been more clearly marketed for kids, I would probably have given it 4 stars. The narrator is okay. Compared to some narrators she reads a little dull, but definitely not terrible to listen to

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 16-03-21

Enjoyable

I loved the references to other popular mystery writers and their characters. If you like this genre they will all be familiar names. Excellent touch.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Wild Horses Flying
  • 13-03-21

A relief to find a good cozy

Liked this a lot. Some dynamics to the plot without getting grungy. Good people with some sass and spark.

3 people found this helpful

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  • P. Terrington
  • 16-05-21

Strange mistakes

The story was fun and the narrator was excellent but has the author spent any time in the UK where the book is set? There were strange errors on every page starting at the very beginning with the word zucchini - we say courgette in the UK. It was followed by many more errors. For example, we don’t have bail bondsmen or talk about dumpsters, college basketball etc. The author also worked hard to add Welsh language elements but then mentioned a Welshcake being fresh from the oven - they are cooked on a griddle! I was very tempted to stop listening but I was enjoying the narration so much that I carried on - I decided to play ‘Spot the Error’ instead!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Caprilounge
  • 03-03-21

I love these characters!

I was a little disappointed in how the mystery wrapped itself up but you know what? It's Sister Agatha's first case! I'm sure the mysteries will get better. I love the characterization - these people are very real. I also love the references to other Murder Mystery icons- brilliant! I ordered a box of Welsh Brew before I even finished the book. Looking forward to #2!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Megs
  • 20-02-21

Charming

A really enjoyable modern twist on a familiar genre. I very much enjoyed the modern references.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Sufka
  • 11-02-21

Fun, well written murder mystery

Will this story blow you mind? No.
Will it entertain you? Yes
Will you begin pronouncing Gouda as gow-duh vs goo-da? Probably.
Will you look up recipes for clotted cream, scones, and Welsh cake? Most definitely.
The characters are charming- thanks to their descriptions coupled with the reader’s voice, I was easily able to envision them all.

1 person found this helpful