A Forgotten Shadow by H. L. Marsay

Title: A Forgotten Shadow (Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery #5)

Author: H. L. Marsay

Published on: 4 August 2022

Genre: Mystery and Thriller | Police Procedural

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Forgotten Shadow is the fifth book in H.L. Marsay’s Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery series.

Past memories come a-knocking when John Shadow is called to investigate a shooting incident at Kirkdale Castle. Shadow spent a part of his childhood at Kirkdale. His father, a local policeman, was shot in the line of duty and the killer was never caught. Decades later, a veterinarian at the Kirkdale Castle is shot to death. Evidence suggests the possibility of a link between the two killings.

Shadow must not let his feelings hinder the investigation. But dealing with aristocracy and unhelpful inhabitants of Kirkdale Castle is challenging. Shadow and his deputy, Jimmy Chang must solve the case and bring killer to justice.

Wow! Another fantastic, fabulous, mind-blowing, gripping and completely engrossing installment to my favorite series. I have been following this series from the start. Not only is Chief Inspector Shadow Mysteries one of my favorite detective series, but Helen Marsay too is an all-time favorite author.

In the first four books, we readers are given a glimpse of Shadow’s life. John Shadow is a solitary and reserved figure who prefers to spend time alone than with people, a total foodie, lives on a boat, and is sometimes frustrated by his deputy Jimmy Chang’s ‘childish’ behavior. But as they end up being partnered to solve crimes, Shadow starts to enjoy Jimmy’s company.

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In the previous book, we saw Jimmy propose to Sophie, a forensic examiner. In this book, we see Jimmy making plans – some of which Shadow feels are ‘building castles in the air’ – for their wedding. There is also a mention or two of ‘when Sophie and I have kids’ which makes Shadow wonder if the couple are already expecting a child. Then we have Maggie, Shadow’s childhood friend and laundromat owner. Maggie makes an appearance in the second half of the book and Shadow being his usually self, gets into trouble – which is later resolved with a bit of pampering and fussing (picnic hampers and art gallery tickets).

When Shadow and Jimmy arrive at the Kirkdale Castle, it is pretty clear that Shadow is thinking of his past. His father was shot to death and decades later, another man is shot to death. Shadow cannot help but think if both were killed with a similar weapon. As the forensic science experts point out to evidence which fuels Shadow’s doubt, things get tense.

I really loved the backstory – of the aristocracies living in Kirkdale as well as that of Shadow. I suppose this is the first time we see Shadow at his lowest. Yes, there are moments in the previous books where Shadow reminisces the time he spent with his lost love (she was killed in a freak car accident). In this book, we get a glimpse of Shadow’s childhood.

Red herrings were plenty and the victims too had a backstory – which might have led to their unnatural deaths. We also have a twist halfway through the story; something to do with George, Shadow’s friend and a fellow police officer. Then there is pain-in-the-neck Chief Constable – Shadow does not get along well with her and this causes a tense situation or two.

The ending – straight out of a mystery classic (think Poirot). Shadow goes to Kirkdale Castle one last time and talks to the whole family, slowly telling them the evidence he has gathered and then announces that a certain somebody is responsible for the murders.

If you are looking for a riveting detective fiction, I highly recommend you to give A Forgotten Shadow by H. L. Marsay a try.


Many thanks to Helen Marsay and Tule Publishing for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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