Eric Shepherd: More Murder in a Nunnery

more_murder_in_a_nunneryIt is extraordinary how different the same thing may appear from an altered point of view.
The body on the dump, which appeared to the Convent unmitigated misfortune, struck the police in quite a different way.

Eric Shepherd’s sequel to Murder in a Nunnery was published seventeen years later, in 1957, but is set only two years after Murder. The setting is again Harrington Convent with its attached boarding school, but Shepherd foregrounds some of the incidental characters from his first book, and introduces more of the police force.

This time the murder is that of a stranger, found abandoned on the rubbish heap maintained by stock comic character Mr Turtle. The plot hinges on one of the students at the convent school, who is the daughter of the Hazh Bazh, the military leader of troubled South American nation Anaconda. Rival Anacondans have been sent to kill her with poison darts.

More Murder is more of a romp than its predecessor. The story includes a siege of the school, there are some Mallory Towers bits with the school prefects, and a jolly-but-competent police force.

One of the main investigators is a real live professional police woman, which amazingly I don’t think I have encountered previously (correct me if there are examples I’m just not recalling). Combined with the strong women who staff the Convent, you’d think this was a bold blow for female emancipation, but it is undermined massively by Olive’s ambitions (which boil down to marrying a senior officer and supporting his career).

She had brought her womanly arts to work on the station, which thus had pretty curtains at its windows, and in season window-boxes, was dusted as no char would have dusted, and its many grim-looking books and papers kept in order.

Go girl.

Another light read, if not as convincing as the first book.


Eric Shepherd
More Murder in a Nunnery
First published in the UK, 1957
Source: Publisher review copy (thanks Ostara!)
ISBN: 9781909619395
143 pages

About pastoffences

Past Offences exists to review classic crime and mystery books, with ‘classic’ meaning books originally published before 1987.
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