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Even the season of goodwill can’t stop a murder…

Detective Chief Inspector John Shadow is reluctantly attending York Minster’s Advent Ceremony when the new dean is taken ill after drinking wine. Was her allergic reaction a simple case of human error, or could she have been poisoned? Shadow becomes suspicious when he learns someone else has died under similar circumstances. He begins to quietly investigate, but when the body of a young woman is recovered from the river, he knows he must act quickly. And this time, Shadow requires the help of someone from his past.

John Shadow is a man of contradictions. A solitary figure who shuns company but is a keen observer of all he meets. A lover of good food, but whose fridge is almost always empty. He prefers to work alone but is assisted by the eager Sergeant Jimmy Chang.

Together, the two men must work through a maze of cheating husbands, corrupt clergy, and criminal gangs to solve the murders before the killer can strike again.

Author H L Marsay spent a few minutes with The Big Thrill discussing the sixth book in her Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery series, A CHRISTMAS SHADOW:

H L Marsay

What attracts you to this book’s genre?

Who doesn’t love a whodunnit? From reading the Famous Five and Nancy Drew then Agatha Christie and PD James, I have always loved trying to work out who the criminal is before their identity is revealed. Eventually, I couldn’t resist the challenge to create some mysteries of my own.

Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?

Usually the plot comes first, but on this occasion, it was definitely the setting. I really wanted to write a book set at Christmas that featured York Minster, the building that dominates our city. A CHRISTMAS SHADOW begins during the Advent Ceremony, an atmospheric event I have attended many times.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

For all the cat lovers out there, A CHRISTMAS SHADOW introduces you to Donald and Gerald, the two Minster cats. All my other characters are entirely fictitious except for these two loveable chaps!


H L Marsay grew up binge reading Agatha Christie novels and promised herself that one day she would write a mystery too. Living in York, a city full of hidden corners and dark snickelways, she is never short of inspiration, and the Chief Inspector Shadow Mysteries were born. A CHRISTMAS SHADOW is the sixth book in the series.

When H L Marsay isn’t coming up with new ways to bump people off, she enjoys red wine, dark chocolate, and blue cheese—not necessarily together! On the rare occasions when it isn’t raining in North Yorkshire, she can be found tramping across the windswept moors with the five males in her life—two sons, two dogs, and one husband!