Sick of Shadows – Sharyn McCrumb [Review]

Sick of Shadows is a mystery novel, written by Sharyn McCrumb. This novel was published in 1989 by Ballantine Books. It is the first book in the Elizabeth MacPherson series.

I chose to read this book because I had heard a lot of good things about this series, which was written until 2000. Because I usually like to start at the beginning of the series, I read Sick of Shadows and reviewed it on our old blog Books That Hook. Although this is not a book I would read again, I did spend some time rewriting my review for you here.



Sick of ShadowsThe book that started it all for Edgar Award winner Sharyn McCrumb’s widely acclaimed series featuring amateur sleuth Elizabeth MacPherson.
When delicate Eileen Chandler is set to marry, her family fears the man is a fortune hunter. Thank goodness, Eileen’s cousin Elizabeth MacPherson comes early for support. Unfortunately, Elizabeth also has some detecting to do, as a dead body is found, and none of the wedding party is above suspicion….



Jen’s Review of SICK OF SHADOWS

Quick Review: Boring but some redeeming qualities

About the Story

For the first hundred pages or so, I didn’t understand what the point of the book was. There wasn’t a mystery to be solved. I remarked at one point while reading Sick of Shadows, “I’ve never read a book that takes this long to get to the murder.” After finishing the book, my reaction wasn’t much better. It isn’t until Chapter 9, which was quite a ways in, that Eileen, Elizabeth’s cousin, is murdered. So, it takes a really long time to get to any kind of action, which made me bored and unhappy.

About the Characters

The characterization is great for all the secondary characters–the eccentric members of Elizabeth’s family, but the characterization of Elizabeth herself falls flat. There isn’t much to like about her. She’s awkward, unsure of herself, and boring. The blurb on GoodReads says Elizabeth wants to solve the murder, but I didn’t get that feeling. Elizabeth really just goes along for the ride. Yes, she figures out who the killer is at the end, but only after her brother has already figured it out.

About the Writing

“A good deal of suspense…McCrumb writes with a sharp-pointed pen.”

I cut the above quote out of the blurb from Goodreads. I don’t agree with this statement. The author did not create suspense, in my opinion.

The writing itself wasn’t bad, just boring.

About the Worldbuilding and/or Setting

I don’t have any complaints about the setting. It was easy to visualize Elizabeth’s surroundings. The author did a good job of creating atmosphere.

Do I Recommend?

I was really hoping to like this book. It was just so-so. The main thing was how the killer was apprehended at the end. I can’t say I wouldn’t recommend it, because there are some people who have enjoyed this book, but if you are like me and prefer books that get to the point fast and have a lot of action, then this book wouldn’t be for you.

My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars (C)


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About Jen Schaper

In addition to being a book blogger, I am a mother of three children, a retail backroom coordinator, and a wannabe writer (when I make time to do it).
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