Lea Wait

Shadows at the Spring Show

Fourth in the Shadows Antique Mystery Series

Back to Mysteries for Adults

Buy now from:

Simon & Schuster
Pocket Books
ISBN 0743475593

Also available as an e-book

Maggie Summer, antique print dealer, community college professor, and now possible prospective single adoptive parent, has volunteered to run an antiques show to benefit a local adoption agency. But when threatening letters and phone calls disrupt her carefully laid plans, she begins to fear for the safety of all those involved with the show – including herself. Someone doesn’t want the antiques show to be held, and Maggie has to find out why. Set in quiet Somerset County, New Jersey, this 4th in the Shadows Antique Print Mystery Series brings together antique dealers and college colleagues introduced in earlier Shadows books, while tackling thorny issues of race, heritage and personal identity. And, of course, there is a killer to find … because the show must go on!

Mystery Scene Magazine: “It’s hard to praise too highly Wait’s skill at plotting, her ability at building suspense (as one wonders if the threats to destroy the show will prove true,) and her ability to make so many diverse characters come alive … When the bigotry behind the threats and the murder is revealed, the reader (to Wait’s credit) is both appalled and understanding.”

Publisher's Weekly: “With complex crimes and even more complex personal decision for Maggie Summer, the fourth installment of Wait’s cozy series doesn’t disappoint… Kudos to Wait for tackling a pressing social issue like adoption: she’s never heavy-handed, and she just might inspire some readers to think about opening their homes to children in need.”

- on Maine Humanities Council list of Popular Maine Fiction

Author’s Note:

Shadows at the Spring Show is set in early May; almost a year has passed since the events in Shadows at the Fair. I wanted to pull together both of Maggie’s identities in this book by having her run an antiques show at Somerset Community College. Dealers who appeared in Shadows at the Fair are back, exhibiting at this new antiques show, but some of Maggie’s colleagues and students at the college also have important roles in this 4th of the Shadows series. Maggie, who has not yet decided whether she will adopt a child herself, also adds adoptive parents and prospective parents to the cast of characters. The center of this book is an antiques show, as it was in Shadows at the Fair, but this time the focus is the background of the show itself, and how a show is organized. Of course, as in each of the Shadows books, Maggie not only solves a crime, but learns a little about herself, and takes another step in the direction of whatever her personal future will be.

Questions and Topics for Discussion:

How do the prints described at the beginning of the chapters of this book relate to its theme? To the specific chapters?

In Shadows at the Spring Show there is a lot of talk about multi-racial families, both adoptive and biological. Was there too much? Was it necessary to the plot, or distracting? Was there too much emphasis on this aspect of adoption?

If you had to make a similar decision, having received strange threats, would you have cancelled the antique show? Do you think the adoption agency and college made the right decision?

The histories of the three young men who helped out at the antiques show – Hal, Eric, and Abdullah – were different, but all involved non-traditional families, and violence of one sort or another. How did their backgrounds influence their behavior? What do you think their futures will bring?

From what you read in Shadows at the Spring Show, do you think an adoption agency should place a child with a prospective parent like Ann?

With all she knows now, do you think Maggie will choose to adopt?

How did the events of 9/11 influence the events in Shadows at the Spring Show? Has 9/11 changed the way Americans view some types of violence and threats?

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