It is Lent in the convent and Sister Joan is trying to keep control of her curiosity and her desire for more interesting food when a new lay sister arrives at the convent. Sister Joan does not take to Sister Jerome but knows she has to get on with her. Father Malone is off on a sabbatical and his place is being taken by the dour Father Timothy who seems of a very similar character to Sister Jerome. But what does Mrs Fairlie - the Presbytery's housekeeper - want to talk to Sister Joan about? Mrs Fairlie is found dead before she can tell Sister Joan what she is worrying about.
Mother Dorothy seems inclined to let Sister Joan investigate and sends her to housekeep for the two priests - Father Timothy and Father Stevens. Soon there are more strange events than anyone might want to experience and Sister Joan finds herself torn between her Lenten observances and her duty to help the police with their enquiries. I enjoyed this interesting story and liked the way Sister Joan's character is developing. I also like Mother Dorothy who definitely has more to her personality than meets the eye.
The plot is likely to keep the reader guessing until all is revealed. It is fairly clear who could be the murderer but the motive is less clear and how everything fits together - past and present - is interesting reading. I like the way Sister Joan's relationship with the DS Mill is progressing and it is a challenge for any author to develop such a relationship convincingly without being able to introduce the conventional love story. Veronica Black succeeds admirably with this and the relationship is subtle and believable.