A Vow of Adoration

Veronica Black, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-312-18205-2
Glimpses into the religious life provide the only sparks in this unexceptional mystery in which the semi-cloistered Sister Joan (Vow of Poverty, etc.) finds a dead man in a chapel on the moor. Later, a mousy young woman, Caroline, appeals to Sister Joan to find her sister, Crystal, who has not been heard from for two months. Both events seem to point directly at local antiques dealer Michael Peter. Another dead body, this one clearly murdered, complicates the scenario. In earlier books in the series, there were religious implications to the crimes that gave sister Joan a unique perspective. In the absence of such allusions this time out, she simply looks like a busybody. Though Black ably evokes the Cornish Moors and fashions an interesting twist on an oft-used device in her conclusion, ponderous prose and the predictability of the characters clog this mediocre puzzler. Sister Joan is still trying to learn humility; two of her elderly fellow nuns are still squabbling; and the relationship between Sister Joan and Sergeant Mill remains static. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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