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Death Of A Novice

Death Of A Novice, July 2018
Reverend Mother Mystery #5
by Cora Harrison

Severn House Publishers
Featuring: Reverend Mother Aquinas; Eileen Mac Sweeney
240 pages
ISBN: 0727887831
EAN: 9780727887832
Kindle: B07CWW12PH
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Another case for the Reverend Mother in historical Cork"

Fresh Fiction Review

Death Of A Novice
Cora Harrison

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted July 7, 2018

Mystery Historical | Mystery Woman Sleuth

Fifth in the Reverend Mother historical mystery series set in County Cork of the early twentieth century, this tension-loaded tale examines the Irish Civil War. Men and women were caught up in fighting because some resented the terms of the Treaty recently signed with Britain to create the Irish Free State. A few of the novice nuns at the Cork city convent are being used to smuggle messages between those rebelling against the new Irish government. DEATH OF A NOVICE may be a consequence.

One of the locations visited is the Army barracks of Spike Island, which is now a top tourist attraction! Eileen Mac Sweeney gets taken on a tour so we see it through her eyes, tunnels, ammo store and all. Reverend Mother Aquinas is our more usual companion and we find her busy checking the henhouse -- and discovering the body of a recently joined novice who kept the convent books. Clearly being a nun is a more perilous occupation than I realized.

The late Sister Gertrude had worked as an accountant in Ford's motor factory in Cork, but actually thought the convent held better prospects for advancement, which tells us a lot about women in business in those days. As the novice was only in her early twenties, the Reverend Mother distrusts the doctor's verdict of liver failure. She starts looking into the nun's background and her communications with the other novices.

I enjoyed the look at daily life, the casual dropping of clues, and distinct personalities we meet. In the background we get Reverend Mother's musings on the political turmoil which has come all too close. The case is a difficult one with twists and turns before reaching an outcome that explains everything. Readers interested in the historical aspect will certainly get value from this visit to Cork and those who like to follow the eventful life of the Reverend Mother can be pleased to grab this latest installment. Cora Harrison once again shows the lives of ordinary women in the past, with her compelling mystery DEATH OF A NOVICE.

Learn more about Death Of A Novice


The sudden death of a young novice nun raises a series of puzzling questions in the latest Reverend Mother historical mystery.

The Reverend Mother is delighted with her new entrant to the convent. Young Sister Gertrude is well-educated, has worked for an accountant and has an appealing sense of humour. But one autumn morning, Sister Gertrude is found dead inside a small wooden shed, just beside the river. Surely a young nun could not die from alcohol poisoning?

But when the Reverend Mother delves more deeply into Sister Gertrudeís background, she finds some puzzling anomalies. Why did the young nun not delay her entry to the convent until after her sisterís wedding? Is it a coincidence that her father died of a similar illness not long before? And could there be a link between Sister Gertrudeís death and the gunpowder explosion on Spike Island? The Reverend Mother must find the answers to these questions if she is to safeguard her community from suspicions of murder.

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