Wednesday, March 9, 2016

And Then There Were Nuns (League of Literary Ladies #4)

Author:  Kylie Logan
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9780425282953
Berkley Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99; $7.99 Amazon
Five Stars

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 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...


Bea Cartwright owns a B&B on South Bass Island, Ohio.  She has agreed to furnish meals for ten nuns who are on a retreat at the Water's Edge Center for Spirit and Renewal, and is looking forward to it, never having been inside the mansion and curious to see what it looks like.  When she meets the nuns, she finds out they barely know each other - they each received a grant from a philanthropic foundation for the work they do, and "won" the week's retreat as a personal reward, in order to learn from each other about their individual work.

The nuns, some who wear traditional dress, some in half-dress, and others in street clothes, are as different as day and night; yet all are looking forward spending time with each other.  That is, until the next day, when one of the nuns goes missing.  And when her body is later found, floating face-down in the lake, it could have been an accident, except for one thing:  the dead nun, Sister Sheila, was terrified of water...

It also seems that there is dissension going on with the Literary Ladies (Bea, Chandra, Luella and Kate).  Chandra has suddenly decided to put in a pool that nearly crosses Bea's property line - and a large streetlight that faces Kate's home - and deciding to put a stop to people who are fishing in Lake Erie, when she knows Luella depends upon it for her living.  While Bea refuses to get into an argument about it, she knows at some point she's going to have to get Chandra to back down.

As if she didn't have enough on her plate, just when she thinks that Levi might just be "the one," she decides to come clean about her past, and in doing so, he does also - and drops a bombshell on her that stuns her more than she ever thought possible...

Bea has her hands full with her B&B guests - a genealogist doing research on his family; a birder; and a group of librarians, not to mention providing three meals a day to the nuns.  Too soon she finds herself caught up in the disappearance of Sister Sheila, and finding out it's murder, everyone wonders who would want to kill a nun?  And if so, why?  It seems Sister Sheila had nothing shady in her past, and there's no apparent reason to do her in.  But when another nun goes missing - the only one who actually knew Sheila for any length of time and had prior issues with her, everyone believes that perhaps she is guilty of the murder.  But soon enough it's apparent that the missing sister had nothing to do with the murder, and that someone on the island is definitely a murderer, and that they want to eliminate the nuns, echoing the Agatha Christie classic, And Then There Were None...

I did indeed like this mystery very much.  I felt that the nuns were drawn true to life, and acted much like nuns would have, given the situations they were unfortunately thrust into.  I also like the fact that Bea was able to keep her wits about her; she's a strong character who manages to turn ideas around in her head until she comes to the most logical conclusion, without putting herself danger without an 'escape plan.'  She's also given points for not allowing herself to be drawn into a fight with Chandra, as the woman was obviously baiting her on purpose.

When Bea and Levi finally put it all together, the ending, although rather sad in a way, is believable and realistic.  Though I figured out who the murderer was before Bea, even I couldn't have fathomed the reason.  I felt this book had plenty of plot twists throughout, giving the reader the enjoyment of not figuring anything out too soon.

This is the fourth book in the League of Literary Ladies series, and as such, quite a worthy entry.  Ms. Logan gives us a tidy tale of secrets, deception and murder that is truly a pleasure to read.   Don't worry if you haven't read the first three, this can be read as a stand alone, but after reading it, if you haven't read the first three, you'll probably want to go back and start at the beginning.

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