Shadow of Doubt Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Shadow of Doubt

Stan Shepherd, a police officer in a small town of Newpointe, has terrible stomach pains. His wife Celia is trying to help him with what they think is food poisoning, but things get worse and worse. Celia calls for help, and Stan is rushed to the hospital, where a shocking discovery is made: he has been poisoned with arsenic. Stan survives, but he is in a bad shape.
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Celia is questioned. At first, all of her friends stand by her, convinced that she couldn't have done it. Then they learn that Celia's first husband had died of arsenic poisoning, and she had been the primary suspect as well, although she was acquitted. That fact, and the fact that Celia had kept the story secret since she had moved to Newpointe, causes many to doubt her. The police do not think that two husbands poisoned in the same manner is a coincidence, either. Celia is arrested. She is devastated; she says that she loves Stan and has no reasons to kill him, but no one believes her, especially after the house is searched and some arsenic is found hidden in the attic while Celia claimed that they didn't have any of it. Celia's own parents turn their backs on her, convinced that she is a murderess.

When it turns out that Celia is pregnant, the police begin to wonder about her motives. A box of new baby clothes was found in the house, showing that Celia wanted this baby and was preparing for its arrival. That confirms her claims of being happy with Stan, so why would she try to kill him? The answer may come in the form of Celia's ex-boyfriend suddenly showing up in town. He says that she had contacted him and asked him to come, and even sent him some money to rent an apartment. This seems to be true: he did pay for the apartment rent by a check written by Celia. However, further investigation shows that Celia's checkbook had been lost (or stolen?) some time ago, and the signature on the check in question is not hers, although very close.

The review of this Book prepared by Laura Southcombe

Chapter Analysis of Shadow of Doubt

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 20%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 40%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   very upbeat How difficult to spot villain?    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   40% Special suspect?    -   lover Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   homemaker Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Unusual forms of death    -   poisoning Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Terri Blackstock Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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