Wednesday, October 10, 2018

ARC Review: The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

The Hour of Death
Author: Jane Willan
Series: Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery (Book 2)
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (October 9, 2018)

Description: Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn make sleuthing a work of art. But will they paint themselves into a corner when they investigate the Village Art Society president’s death?

As Yuletide settles upon Gwenafwy Abbey, the rural Welsh convent’s peace is shattered when Tiffany Reese, president of the Village Art Society, is found dead on the floor of the parish hall. Sister Agatha, whose interests lie more with reading and writing mystery stories than with making the abbey’s world-renowned organic gouda, is not shy about inserting herself into the case. With the not-entirely-eager assistance of Father Selwyn, she begins her investigation.

Sister Agatha has no shortage of suspects to check off her naughty-or-nice list, until finally, Tiffany’s half-brother, Kendrick Geddings, emerges as the prime suspect. There never was any love lost between Tiffany and Kendrick, and of late they had been locked in a vicious battle for control of the family estate. But if Sister Agatha thinks she has the case wrapped up, she’ll have to think again.

As the days of Advent tick by, Sister Agatha is determined to crack the case by Christmas in The Hour of Death, Jane Willan’s perfectly puzzling second Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery.

My Thoughts: It's Advent time and Sister Agatha is busy trying to work on her detective novel. But she is sidetracked when a very active member of the the parish - Tiffany Reese - is found dead in the parish hall. Apparently she was viewing the upcoming art exhibition in which her painting figured prominently. Ms. Reese was not a well-loved character. She ran many church and community organizations with an iron fist. The police constable and even the coroner are convinced that Tiffany died of a heart attack but Sister Agatha is suspicious.

She enlists her childhood friend and parish priest Father Selwyn to be be the Watson to her Sherlock Holmes as they look into Tiffany's life to try to find out who murdered her. The village is filled with suspects including Tiffany's brother and other members of the community organizations. A young local artist and the local science teacher also come under suspicion in the course of the investigation.

Of course, Sister Agatha has other things to do too. The abbey's new website has caused their organic cheese business to boom and all the sisters are busy trying to fill all the orders before Christmas. And the local singers are all rehearsing for the cantata. When the organist becomes a suspect, Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn are under even more pressure to solve the case.

Adding to the plot are the upcoming development of land across from the abbey into villas for the well-to-do which is a plan being pushed by a "family values" politician against the wishes of the community. Also their young American artist tenant is being harassed by someone who seems obsessed with The Wizard of Oz.

This was a slow-paced cozy and an enjoyable story. I liked Sister Agatha's reliance on a number of mystery book authors and characters as guides to her detecting. I liked that the story was realistic in terms of the possibilities for detecting afforded to an Anglican nun in her sixties. I liked the different interests and talents of the nuns. This was a fun cozy in a great setting.

Favorite Quote:
Armed with a tape measure from Sister Callwen's sewing box, an old toothbrush, three plastic sandwich bags, and a pair of salad tongs from the kitchen, she felt ready. She stuffed all her evidence-gathering items into the pockets of her red jumper along with the purple notebook and set forth. Inspector Rupert MacFarlane recommended latex gloves, but her fur-lined leather gloves from last year's St. Grenfell jumble would suffice. It was just too cold for latex.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

1 comment:

  1. I read this one. I thoroughly enjoyed it as that convent was an unconventional one!!


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