Port Town, Oct 2002
The body of Jennifer Madoc is found at the bottom of the cliff near her home near Mendocino, California. The police rule out murder and suicide, concluding the unfortunate victim died in an accident though the heartless Jennifer had hurt several people, including a sibling. A friend of the late father Tom Furlough thinks a homicide occurred. He worries about Cat, knowing that she will obstinately make inquiries so Tom “orders” architect Derek Driscoll to pose as a concerned neighbor, but to keep her safe.
Cat believes the self-centered Jennifer would never commit suicide and knew the cliffs too well to fall accidentally. She concludes her sister was murdered and she plans to obtain justice though she rarely talked with her selfish sibling. Though he leans towards the Sheriff Department's position, Detective Frank Harris remains suspicious of Jennifer's former lover Derek. Cat also wonders about her “protector” who she is half in love with, but wonders if he is the culprit she seeks?
Fans of amateurs sleuth romances will have no SHADOW OF DOUBT that this terse thriller is a superb tale that has cross genre appeal. The story line never slows down as Cat struggles with conflicting feelings when it comes to Derek, who appears like a modern day brooding gothic hero. However, the key to Linda Morelli's strong novel is that most of the cast seems multi-dimensional and had the motive to kill Jennifer.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner