Monday, August 27, 2012

Donna Fletcher Crow's Shares Cool Early Book Via Ebooks!

"She smiled, brushing back her short dark hair.
"Nice to hear you admit it. But now, look.
Concentrate on what I'm saying." She shoved the
magazine under his nose. "Sir Gavin Kendall is going
to be there. How can you possibly turn down an
opportunity like this? Shy, he's practically your
opposite number--"
"Opposite number?" 
Richard looked at her dubiously.
"You really are hopeless." She threw up her hands.
"Opposite number--like in a spy movie--the foreign agent
whose work corresponds to yours."
Richard picked up a red pencil. "Your references are
obtuse, Dr. Allerton. I don't read Sayers' mysteries and
I don't read Le Carre spy thrillers."
"That's precisely my point...

Dorothy L. Sayers
 Oxford, 13 June 1893 – Witham, 17 December 1957

Shadow Of Reality

By Donna Fletcher Crow

What a cool book! If you love mysteries, then this is for you! It's a double whammy! A Mystery within a mystery! And I loved it...and went out to order the next in series... Thanks so much to the author who has brought her earlier books to us through ebook editions!

The author notes that she and her husband attended a mystery weekend and got the idea and then used one of her favorite authors, Dorothy L. Sayers, as background to her story. When I first started reading mysteries, gothic and crime novels, I had read Sayers, but, that's been a long time ago! So I was pleased to be reminded of this English author's work... I thought it was interesting that Crow chose to have a man and woman go to the mystery weekend, just as she had really done with her husband. I'm pretty sure, though she doesn't say, that there was not a real murder that time...

Elizabeth Allerton and Richard Spenser worked together at a local college and were close friends. So close that Richard routinely sought her hand via a marriage proposal that Elizabeth routinely laughed at...but at the same time, thought nothing about asking Richard to go away for a week with her. Of course, to a mystery week! Elizabeth was often trying to persuade Richard to read more mysteries, which was her passion, and she had recently taught her new course, mystery writing, to a sellout crowd of students. She was excited because Sir Gavin Kendall was going to be there--an expert in mysteries that followed the style of Dorothy Sayers.

Richard probably wouldn't have gone if he had known that when Elizabeth set eyes on Sir Gavin, she immediately saw the man of her dreams! He was everything that she had ever dreamed that the man she would love would be...And it seemed to be mutual...

They were quickly placed in a small group, with which they would work during the week. After their meal, she had looked up and saw Sir Gavin, who would be working with her group and who was also a character in the murder mystery. In fact, it turned out that he had been engaged to the woman who had been murdered!

I must admit that the whole adventure of a mystery week is intriguing to me, so I thoroughly enjoyed the actual play and then the followup interviews with all the potential "murderers..." But that was not to be the only murder to solve...

That could not totally detract from what had happened to Elizabeth when she had entered her room there...It happened later because when she was first in the room, the door to the bathroom was stuck, and now it was ajar... 

She had gone into her bathroom and saw a body! And promptly fainted!

When she woke up, she was told that the body had really been one of the actors and that they had since decided to eliminate that part of the mystery since she had reacted so violently. And so, the week continued, the mystery must be solved! And Elizabeth was enjoying having private times with Sir Gavin, while Richard had an admirer from their group that was quite willing to share some time with him!

And then jewelry was stolen from various guests!

As the week continued and the investigations became more involved, Richard and Elizabeth found themselves teamed in a search, and discovered the "dead body" (yes, the same man who she had seen in her bathroom)in another bedroom. Elizabeth was totally committed to finding out what had really happened, but as she tried to think through the mystery--then the clues of the fictional mystery would come to mind...It was fun to watch, fun to read...but not fun for her! 

Clues, clues, clues--the characters in this story are soon involved completely, but were still committed to winning the prize for solving the week's mystery...Now police were involved, conducting their interviews, while the game participants continued to search for their guilty character! Confused yet? You should be because that's the fun of having a mystery develop within a mystery week! Right? Too confusing for you? Then you're really not a mystery fan...LOL...and, all of this occurred well before all the magic of CSI and its scientific evidence. These clues went all the way back to the basics, but Elizabeth knew what she was doing... maybe too much...

I think it is important to highlight the type of book this is since it is a perfect example of the length and structure  of earlier mysteries written as gothic romance/suspense...I grew up on this type of book; but there is quite a difference in later works of Donna Fletcher Crow.  A Very Private Grave is a complex in-depth historical mystery that responds to today's demand for more narrative and descriptive material on characters and setting. So recognize what you are buying in this later edition of an earlier published book. If you enjoy both, fine, but do recognize the two for distinct periods in publishing...In my opinion, Crow has steadily responded to the desires of her fans in writing both types of books... Her later, more contemporary books are excellent as well!

Highly recommended for those who enjoy the game of mystery solving...


Donna Fletcher Crow, who lives in Idaho with her husband of 46 years, is the mother of four adult children, grandmother of 10 and author of thirty-some books, mostly novels dealing with British history. Her best known book is the epic historical novel Glastonbury, The Novel of Christian England, which was awarded First Place, Historical Fiction, by the National Federation of Press Women.
After almost 10 years in the publishing wilderness Donna is reentering the fray with The Monastery Murders, a series of ecclesiastical mysteries featuring Felicity Howard, an American woman studying for the Anglican priesthood in a monastery in remote Yorkshire. When Felicity's favorite monk is bludgeoned to death she finds herself learning about a lot more than theoretical theology. A Very Private Grave, the first in the series will be released by Monarch Books (Lion Hudson) in May 2010 in the UK and next Sept. in the US by Kregel Books.
She says, "I write historical novels and contemporaries that draw heavily on historical background, because I believe it is vitally important that we not loose touch with our rich historical heritage. Those who have gone before us have worked too hard and suffered too much to preserve the privileges we enjoy for us to forget their stories. Reading of the triumphs of the faithful in ages past can inspire and strengthen us for our own challenging times."
Donna is an enthusiastic gardener, enjoying the challenge of growing an English cottage garden in the Idaho desert. You can visit her garden at
She also enjoys drinking tea with family and friends and hearing from her readers. You can write to her at

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