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In the Shadow of Death

(2002)
(The second book in the Margaret Spencer series)
A novel by

 
 
Vancouver, 1959. Margaret Spencer has moved out of her upscale Kerrisdale manor, left her stultifying marriage with Harry, her pompous lawyer husband, and is living alone in a basement apartment in the trendy Vancouver suburb of Kitsilano. Happy in her job as assistant to detective Nat Southby - whom she has also taken as her lover -, she is also harassed by Harry who wants her to give up and return to the upper middle-class life they once shared. Yearning to escape the pressure she decides to head north to the Cariboo District for a week on a dude ranch.This novel is replete with lush descriptions of the countryside between Vancouver and far-off Williams Lake, and as the whistle-stop train takes Maggie through the picturesque towns of Squamish, Whistler and Lillooet, further and further from civilisation, she is drawn ever deeper into a new mystery - a husband gone missing and a series of murders whose roots go back a decade. The conflict between Vancouver's hustle and bustle and the bucolic, but in the end, frightening splendor of the wilds is a canvas onto which Southin has painted a cozy with elements that appeal to a broad readership. Relations between the generations, marital tension, betrayal, arrogance and violence run through the story on a current lifted by sharp dialogue and a well-paced plot. Ultimately, a kind of existential resolution leaves the reader satisfied, but with a twist. A broad cast of characters add depth to In the Shadow of Death: Henny, the crackpot office helper hired in desperation by Maggie before she leaves on vacation; Vivienne, the Jezebel sharpshooter wife of a wealthy but wheelchair-bound neighbor of the missing man; even odious businessman Lenny Smith - whose story which begins the book and lends credence to all that will follow - is somehow made attractive, while the closed-minded and petty local RCMP man in Williams Lake practically leaks bile off the pages. Maggie is almost shot while looking for clues, the bodies pile up, and in a startling climax that takes place is the lightless shaft of an abandoned mine, Southby is the target and this time, Maggie does the saving. Southin is at her best in chase scenes, and this one is a real page-turner.


About the Author:
After emigrating to Montreal from England in the 1950s, Gwen Southin was a home-maker, raised three children, then worked as secretary to the CEO of an international telephone company until she and her husband abruptly decided to abandon Quebec winters in favor of the temperate Sunshine Coast north of Vancouver. Long involved in writers' circles and writing workshops, she also helps organize various book festivals in her community

Genre: Mystery

Used availability for Gwendolyn Southin's In the Shadow of Death

Hardback Editions

June 2004 : Canada Hardback
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Title: In the shadow of death
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
ISBN: 1-55207-033-6 / 978-1-55207-033-8 (Canada edition)
Publisher: Robert Davies Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Paperback Editions

March 2008 : Canada Paperback
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Title: In the Shadow of Death
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
ISBN: 1-894898-71-0 / 978-1-894898-71-3 (Canada edition)
Publisher: TouchWood Editions
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


December 2002 : Canada Paperback
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Title: In the Shadow of Death
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
ISBN: 1-55207-037-9 / 978-1-55207-037-6 (Canada edition)
Publisher: Robert Davies Pub
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Audio Editions

October 2013 : USA Audio edition
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Title: In the Shadow of Death
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon   


October 2013 : Australia Audio edition
thumb

Title: In the Shadow of Death
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon AU   


October 2013 : Canada Audio edition
thumb

Title: In the Shadow of Death
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon CA   


October 2013 : UK Audio edition
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Title: In the Shadow of Death
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
Publisher: Audible Studios
Availability: Amazon UK   


Kindle Editions

February 2011 : USA, Canada Kindle edition
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Title: In the Shadow of Death (A Margaret Spencer Mystery Book 1)
Author(s): Gwendolyn Southin
Publisher: Touchwood Editions
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA