Monday, December 4, 2017

The Shadow of Death

When the Sexton of Gwenafwy Abbey in Wales is found dead under a fallen shelf of the Abbey's Heavenly Gouda. Sister Agatha, a devotee of her namesake Agatha Christie, is ready to investigate. When the police view the death of Jacob Traherne as an accident in The Shadow of Death by Jane Willan, Sister Agatha is not so sure.

Among the clues: she discovers the shelving unit hit Jacob on the back of his head, the thermostat cover was removed and a hymnbook from St. Anselm Parish was also found at the scene. The local police are satisfied with their verdict of accidental death, but not Agatha.

Almost worse than a body in their aging room is the upcoming Cheese Festival. The nuns had counted on Heavenly Gouda taking the big prizes and selling well. Their Abbe, populated by small corps of aging nuns and one young postulate, needed money. They had pinned their hopes on a successful Cheese Festival.

Sister Agatha calls on her sidekick Father Selwyn to investigate. Why was Jacob in the aging room so early? Could those shelves really have pulled from the wall? Agatha uses all of her detecting skills
learned from her mystery writing course and from listening to Inspector Rupert MacFarland's Radio Wales podcast Write Now to solve the crime and save the Heavenly Gouda.

While she is investigating the crime, she discovers some disconcerting news about the land on which the Abbey is situated. It seems a developer wants to build a resort and spa and the Abbey land is just perfect. Agatha also discovers the extremely attractive and very ambitious Bishop seems to be involved in the sale. The bishop gives the Reverend Mother an option to save the Abbey - increase the number of postulates and earn more money - in the next 10 days. Totally unrealistic.

When someone sabotages the Heavenly Gouda at the Cheese Festival, Agatha is sure all hope is lost. Along with Father Selwyn and the mysterious-acting postulate Sister Gwenydd, Sister Agatha digs deeper, solves the crime and saves the day.

A fun mystery with earnest, sincere and entertaining characters living a life few of us would choose. 

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