My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I chose the Hour of Death by Jane Willan when it became available through a cozy mystery group I follow. I was selected as a reviewer and received a copy of the book earlier this month. It is the second in the Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn Mystery series written about crimes occurring in a small Welsh town’s church. I usually try to read a book series in order, but I didn’t have time to get a copy of the first book before this one; however, based on how much I enjoyed the second book, I’ll definitely read the first one early next year.
At first, I was apprehensive. Sister Agatha is very detailed, a bit repetitive, and leans toward the rambling side of life… but after about 20% into the story, it was these same qualities that began to entice me-her support of the American visiting Wales, the energy she puts into writing mysteries, the care she took of her fellow nuns… I found myself thinking of her as methodical, open-minded, and very curious. She had a few endearing moments where I realized I was suddenly in full support of her role and focus on solving what no one else believed to be an actual crime. When Tiffany, the president of an art society in the village, was found dead, everyone thought it was a heart attack. Sister Agatha convinced Father Selwyn that was only one of the possible outcomes, and she sought out potential suspects despite nothing seeming obvious. By one third into the book, she had five believable candidates to analyze.
Willan’s writing style is easy and flows well. Her characters are vivid and likable for the most part. A few were meant to be frustrating, and that’s a good thing to have in these types of books. As I got to know the various nuns, priests, townsfolk, and strangers, I wished I had read the books in order, as I would’ve had a different thought on a few of the characters. I might have felt more connected to them, too, but all-in-all, they were well-drawn, felt appropriately embedded in the plot, and showed lots of possible red herrings or truths to keep us guessing.
As I finished the story, I found myself very fond of the setting (and that cover, gorgeous!) and with a strong interest to keep reading more of the series. My only items of constructive feedback would be to spend a little less time repeating and wrapping up why someone could be a suspect and instead use that information to provide additional motives or character actions that show us why they could be the killer. A few times, I thought… ‘hmm, we’ve talked about this several times already’ — it was minor but kept me from giving it a full 5-stars. I ended up with 4.5 stars and I’ll split the ratings across all the platforms between 4’s and 5’s.
I really look forward to getting a copy of the first book and reading future ones. Thanks for a great new series!
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.