This author is very, very good at setting and weather. I really enjoyed getting to know Sister Agnes' bit of London -- and as Ackroyd said of Dickens and DeFoe, the writer is "very particular about street names, which is the real sign of a Londoner writing about London."
And like Dickens, the writer's own feelings about prisons and prisoners seeps into her characters' perceptions thereof. Some are a bit too perfectly angelic, and others are just too horrific to believe. Characters a fully formed, but still somewhat predictible, especially Agnes' wild and crazy girlfriend. As the novel moved along I became less interested in what wine everyone was drinking and which bridge they were crossing, and I wondered when it would ever stop raining.
Sister Agnes is a complicated person, a nun in an unnamed order who manages to still very much live her own life and answer to practically no authority. She seems to show up for work whenever she likes, and skate off on unannounced trips with little regard for other peoples' schedules. And she stands to inherit a big house in Provence... something found only in novels and TV series!
The whole thing turned into a parade of talking heads for a while, with a big "he said what to her before they went there and saw her do that to him."
The story lost its way. It stopped being a mystery, and turned into a therapy session.
Still, it was compelling and fun enough to keep me well engaged through to the end. This writer has a lot of talent and skill, I hope to see more from her in the future.