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The Shadow of Daph: Weddings. Funerals. Sleuthing.

By

Worth reading 😎

A cozy and odd murder mystery with a brilliant, wise and loving duo at the center

The Shadow of Daph is a cozy murder mystery centered around Daphne Jones and her husband John. The book follows the two as they travel across the Australian country-side, ending up in an odd small town and getting caught in the midst of an unsolved murder. The setting is interesting, and the odd cast of character-suspects are unpredictable and engaging.


The book opens with an immediate and complex hook. Daphne and John arrive at a small town for a funeral, and though everything leads them to expect a warm and tight-knit community, they are met with an odd hostility and awkwardness. They hear polarized and conflicting opinions about the nature of the town, and their attempts to uncover the truth about the community make for an immersive read. Clark masterfully ensures that the feeling that something is off and you can’t-quite-put-your-finger-on-it doesn’t dissipate, even as the characters grow familiar and the dynamics between them become clearer.


The most endearing part of the book, and presumably the series, is Daphne herself. Daphne is a 60-something year old celebrant who drives from town to town with her husband to perform ceremonies. Daphne and John, with their realistic physical limitations and genuine dislike of being caught in situations that get in the way of their peace and quiet  make for extremely likable main characters. Unlike most detectives who claim to hate being caught in mysteries while clearly revelling in it, Daphne refreshingly comes across as genuinely uncomfortable with the macabre, toxicity, and unpleasantness she finds herself in. Despite the perfectly crafted unsettling atmosphere, Clark ensures that this is the kind of fictional universe where not only do things work out, they don’t get all that bad - except for murder, of course. Reassuringly, Daphne is the kind of sleuth who feels things in her bones a lot, and John always shows up when things get too hostile. The dynamic between the two sets Clark’s series apart and imbues the plot with an air of wisdom, love and authenticity.



Reviewed by

I'm an educator and social worker from India. My work has trained me to have a kind, analytic eye and this lends itself to my avid reading through reviews!

Change of Plans

About the author

Phillipa lives in country Victoria, Australia. She loves happy endings, heart-pounding suspense, and characters who stay with you long after the final page. With a passion for music, the ocean, nature, reading, and writing, she is often found in the vegetable garden pondering a new story. view profile

Published on October 12, 2021

60000 words

Genre: Cozy Mysteries

Reviewed by