St. Martins, May 2002, 23.95, 304 pp.
This may be the worst moment in Minda Hobb's life because she is mourning for her young husband she loved very much who died in a freak lightening accident while they were on a picnic. She moves back to her hometown of Angel Heights, South Carolina where she has another traumatic incident. In the woman's bathroom of Holley Hall, in the stall next to the one Minda was using, she comes upon the body of Cousin Otto.
At first everyone believed he died a natural death but the coroner rules it a murder. Feeling alone and frightened, Minda moves into the family home where she meets her temporary guardian angel, the heavenly Augusta Goodnight. Working together with some help from Minda's family, it is discovered that Otto's death and an attempt on Minda's life has its origin in a secret society two generations back who made a quilt that contained a deadly message somebody today doesn't want made public.
SHADOW OF AN ANGEL is a delightful and whimsical cozy costarring a protagonist that fans will like and sympathize with and her charming guardian angel. Augusta discreetly nudges Minda in the direction she wants her to go. The mystery itself is a cerebral teaser that will confound most readers but the joy in this novel is not the answer but the quest to find it.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner