A VOW OF POVERTY by Veronica Black


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 An eighth round of dire happenings in England's minuscule religious order, the Daughters of Compassion, where plucky Sister Joan is again caught up in a series of calamities and is again acting as aide to Detective Sergeant Alan Mill (A Vow of Fidelity, p. 99, etc.). Sister Joan has been assigned by Prioress Dorothy to clear out the attic storerooms of the convent building, home for centuries to the wealthy Tarquin family and bought for a song from the estate of Sir Robert Tarquin--a punishment, according to gossip, for his ne'er-do-well son Grant, who was left little but a small house in the village. Grant, an accident victim abroad, lies next to his father in the abbey tombs. Or does he? Following up on a circular left at the convent, offering to buy scrap and old silver, Sister Joan meets answering service worker Jane Sinclair, who has never seen the man whose name is on the circular but who's much interested in a Tarquin family album borrowed from her landlady. Days later, Jane is found strangled. A second strangling victim is young Jeb, a squatter in Grant's empty house. In Sister Joan's mind, the identity of the killer is never in doubt-- confirmed by her discovery of a third body in the convent attics, the results of a long overdue exhumation order, and a final confrontation with the unsurprising killer. The usual overload of convent routine and ritual; lots of sinister lurking figures, but little suspense in a plot that edges into sheer silliness with a common-sensedefying sacrificial gesture to wind it up. The weakest link to date in this modestly diverting chain.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-14756-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1996


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