Boston Public Library
Merciful Heavens! Religious Women as Amateur Sleuths
Booklists for Adults

A Few Sleuth’s Quotes of Note

"She [Sister Joan] paused and pulled open the door, the rusted handle cold and heavy across her palm. The remains of a rotten seat designed to hold about five people held an abandoned bird’s nest, its twigs sodden, its occupants flown.
    She moved on. . . . This pew wasn’t unoccupied. A man wrapped in a greatcoat lay on what remained of the seat, head turned sideways, face beginning to bloat."
        Veronica Black. A Vow of Adoration

"He looked at the kitchen clock. ‘Is it too early to say Shacharit?’
    Rina thought a moment. There were entire sections of Talmud written about the permissible times to say the morning prayers. Rina looked at the kitchen clock. A little before three A.M.
   ‘It’s never too early or too late to pray. And Peter, add your own private wishes at the beginning of Shemonah.’ "
        Faye Kellerman. Justice

"Sister Mary Teresa, in her flamboyant habit suggestive of an earlier day, caused a sensation as she came down the main aisle of St. Anne’s Church, making audible use of her cane. Kim followed a pace behind. Any effort to help Emtee Dempsey would have been rebuffed. She refused to be treated like a child or, rather, like the old woman she was. The day before, Kim had taken her to the funeral home before the official wake began, and the old nun had stood beside the casket looking down at her former student and tears stood in her eyes."
        Monica Quill. Nun Plussed

"Come away, Sister Fidelma," muttered her male companion in agitation. "This is not a sight for your eyes."
    The woman addressed as Sister Fidelma grimaced in vexation at his anxious tone.
    "Whose eyes is it a sight for, Brother Taran," she responded. Then, edging her horse closer to the corpse, she observed, "Our brother is not long dead."
        Peter Tremayne. Absolution by Murder


Allen, Irene. Quaker Elizabeth Elliot is a kind, gentle, and highly effective sleuth.
    Quaker Indictment
    Quaker Silence
    Quaker Testimony
    Quaker Witness


Black, Veronica. Sister Joan and friends solve some very unholy mysteries.
    A Vow of Adoration
    A Vow of Chastity
    A Vow of Devotion
    A Vow of Fidelity
    A Vow of Obedience
    A Vow of Penance
    A Vow of Poverty
    A Vow of Sanctity


Gallison, Kate. Mother Grey, Episcopal priest and vicar of a somewhat eccentric congregation, finds detecting an excellent deduction.
    Hasty Retreat: A Mother
    Lavinia Grey Mystery


Gilman, Dorothy. Sisters John and Hyacinthe make murder most foul, murder most fun.
    A Nun in the Closet


Greenwood, D.M. Deaconess Theodora Braithwaite puts the collar on crime.
    Clerical Errors
    Idol Bones
    Unholy Ghosts


Kellerman, Faye. Rina Lazarus and Peter Decker team up to catch the most unorthodox killers.
    Day of Atonement
    False Prophet
    Grievous Sin
    Prayers for the Dead
    The Ritual Bath
    Sacred and Profane
    Serpent’s Tooth


Myers, Tamar. Mennonite innkeeper Magdalena Yoder finds solving crime is a Dutch treat. Her Pennsylvania Dutch mysteries include recipes.
    Between a Wok and a Hard Place
    No Use Dying over Spilled Milk
    Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Crime
    Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth


Newman, Sharan. Catherine LeVendeur makes medieval sleuthing timeless.
   The Devil’s Door
    Strong as Death
    The Wandering Arm


O’Marie, Carol Anne. Senior Sleuth Sister Mary Helen knows murder never grows old.
    Advent of Dying
    Death Goes on Retreat
    Death of an Angel
    The Missing Madonna
    Murder in Ordinary Time
    Murder Makes a Pilgrimage
    A Novena for Murder


Quill, Monica.  Sister Mary Teresa (Emtee) Dempsey is in the habit of great detecting.
    And Then There Was Nun
    Half Past Nun
    Let Us Prey
    Not a Blessed Thing
    Nun of the Above
    Nun Plussed
    Sine Qua Nun
    Sister Hood


Taylor, Andrew. When the four-year-old daughter of Deaconess Lucy Appleyard is kidnapped by a madwoman, hell becomes quite real.
   The Four Last Things


Tremayne, Peter. Celtic history lives in Sister Fidelma of the Celtic Church in the mid-seventh century &endash; Ireland’s Age of Golden Enlightenment.
    Absolution by Murder
    Shroud for the Archbishop
    Suffer Little Children


Compiled by Mary Jo Campbell, Lower Mills Branch, Boston Public Library, 1998.