A first novel that starts promisingly but is eventually laid low by religious exposition, Pollyanna preachiness and psychobabble. The setting is Ambelhurst, a long-established monastic school for boys where capable, sometimes abrasive Matron Mary O'Connell, in charge of the infirmary for many years, has been stabbed to death in what appears to be an inside job. Between philosophical discussions with Headmaster Dom Eakenwald, Inspector Evan Morgan compiles a list of suspects that's headed by lady-killer and cricket coach Charles Bolton, who shortly becomes a second victim. In the end, it's the headmaster who pinpoints the killer and stops the carnage. The author works hard in a leisurely, literate way to enliven plot and characters, but, unfortunately, only the portrait of Ambelhurst--its boys, headmaster and physical ambiance--comes alive.