And Then There Were Nuns
League of Literary Ladies, Book #4
By Kylie Logan
Author’s website: www.kylielogan.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
B and B owner Bea Cartwright has taken on the responsibility of taking meals to ten visiting nuns, who are on retreat at the Water’s Edge Center for Spirit and Renewal on picturesque South Bass Island on Lake Erie. But the peace of the retreat is shattered when one of the nuns is found at the water’s edge—murdered. And when a second nun is killed, Bea and the other members of the League of Literary Ladies—Chandra, Kate, and Luella—start to wonder about eerie parallels with the Agatha Christie mystery classic, And Then There Were None.
Since Bea has the trust of the sisters, the local chief of police asks her and the other Literary Ladies to interview each of them. Expecting a confession may be asking for a miracle, but Bea hopes she can at least find the killer before another nun gets crossed off the guest list.
What an exciting read this is, including the more literary style and references to various classic literature! It was an easy visit to Bea Cartwright’s B & B on South Bass Island in the Great Lakes region. It was a delight to get to know the Literary Ladies, Bea, Luella, Chandra and Kate as they prepared and served meals for the nuns who were on retreat at the nearby spiritual retreat center on Lake Erie. At least until Bea finds the body of a nun who was late coming for dinner. Deathly afraid of water, Sister Sheila met her demise having had drowned in the waters in front of the retreat center.
The retreat leader, a popular spiritual teacher, was not present as the ten nuns from around the country had assumed he would be. One of the nuns had a voicemail from him that she was to play for them. The intent was for it to be a ‘design-it-yourself’ spiritual retreat. Each nun had her own spiritual gifts to share. With one exception, the nuns had only met once before at a dinner in NY where they received grants for their specific ministries. Two of the nuns had prepared a worship song, mostly by email. Sister Sheila was one of them.
For the first time, one of the ladies revealed her secrets to the other three and to the man she thought was interested in dating her. Another literary lady spent much of this novel trying to irritate the others with changes she planned, while yet another was involved in a peaceful protests for a group that could cause one of the ladies her business. Some of these conversations deepened their friendship, as did trying to discover who the murderer was. Other conversations threatened their friendship as they yakked and quibbled. Bea had the mixed blessing of not only running her B and B, but also making sure the nuns were fed each day and learning what she could about them to help the police understand what was occurring.
The characters, from the Literary Ladies to the chief of police to the bar owner to the nuns, were a delight – well, most of the time. Hank, from the police department, was in many respects gruff and tough, but when it came to the nuns, he knew he could count on Bea to help him question them unofficially. We are shown the most about Bea, who is developed better than anyone else in the novel. The rest of the Literary Ladies were defined through their conversations and actions although not as much as Bea. Levi, the bar owner, wasn’t quite who he said to be, and there is not much more known about him than the nuns. They are overall a likable lot of folks, people I wouldn’t mind living on this island with. I would have liked to see a little more depth in the other three Literary Ladies as they have so much to offer the novel.
And Then There Were Nuns is fourth in the League of Literary Ladies Mystery series. For the most part it can be read as a standalone even though there were a couple things that might have helped knowing earlier on in the novel. The plot is interesting and it is carried out in a most suspenseful manner. One of the Literary Ladies noted that there were correlations between Dame Christie’s ‘And Then There Were None’ and the nuns and circumstances of their retreat. None of the ladies wanted to think of someone gunning for all ten sisters! The story moved at a good pace, holding my attention throughout. It was at times funny, or sad, or fascinating. I did have various suspects in mind throughout the story but didn’t have motive or clear picture of who the bad guys/ bad gals might have been until Bea did. The mystery, with plot twists that changed the outcome, brought the novel to a complete and satisfying conclusion. I highly recommend And Then There Were Nuns to adults of all ages who like well-planned cozy mysteries rife with surprises that make them a challenge to solve, with humor, romance, and a roller-coaster ride of plot twists and switchbacks.