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The Religious Body (Inspector Sloan #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,088 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
"Sister Anne," said the Mother Superior unperturbed, "died on Wednesday evening sometime after supper, probably in the corridor leading from the Great Hall to the kitchens. Her body was put into the broom cupboard and later thrown down the cellar steps. "Who would want to kill a cloistered num? But, astonishingly, someone had. It was as much of a surprise to the sisters of ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published 1966 by Bantam Books
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(showing 1-30 of 2,210)
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Jan 18, 2016 Laura rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
The day begins like any other for Sister Mary St. Gertrude. When her alarm sounds at 5 a.m., Sister Mary begins rousting her convent sisters from their beds, starting with the Reverend Mother. Down the Order she goes with a knock and a warm blessing. But when the young nun reaches Sister Anne's door, there is no answer. She assumes that Sister Anne got up early, and continues on her way.
Mar 23, 2016 Diane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspector C D Sloan and Sgt Crosby (dense, dumb, and rather endearingly doglike) are called in to investigate the mysterious death of a nun, Sister Anne, who appears to have fallen down a flight of stairs. She was seen at the nuns' last meal. Examination of her body indicates she died soon after eating, but two fellow nuns are quite sure they saw her at Compline. As Sloan investigates, it becomes quite clear that the nuns do not make the best of witnesses. They are trained to focus more on the i ...more
Sep 30, 2011 Bev rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Just recently I read Past Tense, the most current in Catherine Aird's Inspector Sloan series. When I was hunting around for more books to read for the Birth Year Challenge: Time Machine Version, I was interested to see that the very first Sloan book, The Religious Body, was published in my target year: 1966. It's been a long time since I read Sloan's initial outing and it was very nice to go back and remind myself where it all began.

Our first look at Inspector C. D. Sloan is of a man perplexed.
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
When the body of a murdered nun is discovered at the Convent of St. Anselm in the village of Cullingoak, Inspector C.D. Sloan of the Calleshire C.I.D. finds himself with fifty suspects—all black-habited nuns who at first look exactly alike to him. It’s the sardonic Sloan’s first venture inside convent walls and, for most of the nuns, their first encounter with the police. Before the killer is unmasked, both the police and the nuns will come to learn a great deal about each other.

Another totally
Apr 01, 2016 Wanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, audiobooks
8 DEC 2015 - recommendation through Bettie. Sounds exciting. Thank you!

12 DEC 2015 - a new-to-me series/author. I really enjoyed this one. On to #2.
Susan in NC
3.5-4 stars - I really enjoyed this first mystery in Catherine Aird's Detective Inspector Sloan series and plan to look for more on Scribd.

The story opens with the discovery of a dead nun in the cellar of a convent; when Sloan is called in to investigate with young Constable Cosby, they soon discover what unreliable witnesses the other nuns are - they go about their peaceful, proscribed daily existence paying very little attention to the personal habits and routines of their fellow religious. A
An Odd1
Sep 09, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, fan
Inspector Sloan, chief detective in Banbury visits nearby Cullingoak Convent with DC Crosby, after Sister Anne is bashed on the head, by smooth blunt object as yet unfound, and dumped down cellar stairs. Pathologist Dr Dabbe places the murder soon after supper, yet someone took her place at evening service. Anne's cousin Harold will not say why he came to see her.

Like a real investigator, we have no idea what red herrings will turn out to be most important. Regulations about raising a private c
Lori Henrich
Mar 14, 2012 Lori Henrich rated it really liked it
This is the first novel in the Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan series. In this first installment Sloan is called out to a Convent to check out a suspicious death of one of the nuns. Where everyone dresses the same it would be hard to notice an imposter among them. Is that what happened? Did a stranger enter the community of nuns and commit this terrible crime? Was it one of the other sisters?

Sloan is on the trail, but it is not an easy task. Who killed Sister Anne?

I really liked this book and lo
Judy Lesley
Open Road Media has recently given the collection of Catherine Aird mystery novels new covers. When I was given the opportunity to read this novel again, this time in the form of a digital advanced readers copy, I was happy to jump back in to explore one of my favorite British mystery novels. This first book in the series was first published in 1966 but has held on to its timeless quality quite well. Inspector C. D. Sloan (later in the series he was affectionately referred to as Seedy) of the CI ...more
A talented writer, an interesting place for a mystery, a convent, but Inspector Sloan was a little too dry and humourless for me or maybe I just didn't get his dry humour. I also thought there were some fairly improbably assumptions in his sleuthing logic that dimmed my enthusiasm.

Often first books in a series are harder to buy into, but then it was good enough for me to want to try the next book in the series.
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You would think a 1966 novel on murder committed at a Roman Catholic convent in the English countryside would be dated. Not so! You'll find the mystery of the murder of Sister Anne to be cleverly plotted -- as is the novel. You'll grow to love Detective Inspector Sloan, despite his impatience and gruff exterior, and sympathize with the dim-witted but long-suffering Sergeant Crosby.

I never guessed who the murderer was. I also loved the detail of life in a pre-Vatican II convent, which was much le
Sridevi Bp
Jun 07, 2016 Sridevi Bp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally! After so many duds, a good rollicking detective novel.
Jon Frum
Nov 14, 2015 Jon Frum rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I gave this book two stars - 'It's OK' - and I think that suits it perfectly well. I just read a review that described the book as barely adequate, yet gave it four stars - go figure.

If you like Agatha Christie and you've already read all of her books, give this one a try. There's not much meat on the bone, but it moves along quite well, and suffers none of the flaws that make me stop reading books more often than I'd like. In the introduction, it says that a reviewer had said that it was diffi
May 26, 2015 Crittermom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Catherine Aird is one of the most accomplished British mystery writers. Her novels featuring Detective Inspector Sloan are exemplary police procedurals that are as engrossing today as when they were first released. It is a pleasure to see Religious Body, the first Detective Inspector Sloan released in ebook form.

Life in a convent is structured and predictable. Thus, it causes tremendous worry when Sister Anne goes missing, only to be found dead at the bottom of the cellar stairs. As the death is
May 15, 2015 Pgchuis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley.

3.5* rounded up. This is the first in the DI Sloan series and I have previously read the second book, but that did not matter - they both stand alone well. Sloan and his less intelligent Constable Crosby are investigating the murder of a nun in a convent and the life of the convent and responsibilities and other aspects of a religious life were well-described and interesting. The gentle humour of Sloan's patient yet despairing attit
May 09, 2015 Damaskcat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sister Gertrude wakes all the members of the Convent of St Anselm as usual one morning but Sister Anne isn't in her cell. It is assumed that she has already got up because she sleeps next door to a nun who snores loudly. Then Sister Peter finds blood on her thumb when she turns the pages of the Gradual and is mortified that she has damaged a valuable book.

When Sister Anne doesn't appear at breakfast a search is launched for her and she is soon located at the bottom of the cellar steps - dead. E
Jan 23, 2015 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, british
When a nun is found dead in the local convent, Inspector Sloan is called to the scene. He finds himself faced with 50 suspects - nuns - who all dress alike and make it their business not to notice what is happening around them. Then students at the neighboring Agricultural Institute try to burn a figure dressed in a nun's habit on their bonfire on Guy Fawkes night. Is somebody holding a grudge against the Sisters or is it something more personal? Sloan is determined to find out before anyone els ...more
May 18, 2015 Elisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Open Road Integrated Media!
Published in 1966, The Religious Body is a throwback to classic whodunits of the past. This book introduced C.D. Sloan and D.C. Crosby. I had never read any of their books before, but I was pleasantly surprised. The mystery is well built, the characters are interesting and the sense of humor is very funny. The story reminded me of one of M. Poirot's cases (the title would be
May 22, 2015 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Here’s your chance to spend a few hours inside a convent, with nuns in their traditional habits and following their usual, daily routine. Why? Because a nun has been murdered there, and Inspector Sloan and Detective Constable Crosby are there to investigate.

Could someone inside the convent – a nun – have killed her religious sister? Or was it the relative of the murdered nun who hadn’t seen her in decades but knew with her alive, his chance to have his company go public might be a failure? Or co

Robin Bailey 5 Hours 18 Mins

Description: Sister Anne has been thrown down the cellar stairs, and Inspector Sloan wonders who in God's name would want to murder a cloistered nun? Sloan's task is complicated by the unusual witnesses - 50-plus discreet, identically dressed nuns, each of whom has an assumed name and a past secular life.
Grady McCallie
This was a pleasant enough mystery. A nun is discovered, murdered, in the basement of her abbey; Inspector Sloan and his colleagues must unravel several related minor puzzles to get back to and solve the core mystery of why she was killed, and therefore, who killed her. The police are irreverent throughout, about everything, and Sloan's immediate supervisor is a hopeless chump. The book doesn't take Catholicism particularly seriously, but then it doesn't take anything seriously; it's light. The ...more
Jun 02, 2014 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lovely little British mystery. Nothing too exciting (to keep you awake), but enough mystery to keep you reading.
Katie Bee
Smooth, well-plotted, and pleasant. I love mysteries set in convents/abbeys (see Brother Cadfael and Sister Frevisse), and I am inclined to like Inspector Sloan. The only shortcoming of this book is that the character development was quite shallow - the nuns were all much alike (to the point where that became a key to the plot), and Sloan was only beginning to gain a character (mostly being annoyed by his assistant).

I am definitely interested in trying out more in the series, though. Like I said
When I pick up a new mystery I hope for two things - a good puzzle and entertaining characters. This is my first Catherine Aird book so I don't know indicative it is of her writing, but it definitely had the first. The mystery was well laid out, there were plenty of suspects and the solution was plausible. Unfortunately I didn't like some of the characters and found I had to force myself to keep reading.

Inspector Sloan is a decent, intelligent man but we don't get to know much about him in this
Jul 20, 2013 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical, drama
In 1966, a convent located in a former country manor in a small English town is a busy place, with fifty sisters all living their lives in a quietly rigorous and unchanging pattern. That is, until Sister Ann is found at the bottom of the cellar steps, with her skull bashed in. Inspector Sloan investigates, trying to understand the workings of the convent (and despairing that the sisters are deliberately the most unobservant people ever), as well as the agricultural college next door, whose Guy F ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Abbey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: traditional British mysteries
BOTTOM LINE: Smooth, well-plotted "rural Brit traditional mystery", with a goodly dollop of tongue-in-cheek; first in a long series, and I'm glad there's more to read - while there's nothing spectacular in her first novel, it was entertaining and holds promise of better to come.

Nun in a convent gets herself murdered and the motives behind the death are somewhat odd (for a nun). A nice, laid-back police inspector (whose boss is a bit of a pain) investigates, along with a sargent who appears to b
Sep 02, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last thing you would expect to find in a convent is a murdered nun. But there was poor Sister Anne, murdered, stashed in a broom closet, and then perfunctorily thrown down a flight of stairs into the cellar. The job of solving the crime goes to Inspector C.D. Sloan of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Berebury Division of the Calleshire Constabulary, who makes his first appearance here, in the first published mystery novel (1966) of Catherine Aird (the pseudonym of Kinn Hamilton M ...more
Leyla Johnson
Jun 27, 2015 Leyla Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Catherine Air's books, they are so easy to read, so page turning yet so normal in police procedure. The mysteries are surprising in the ingenuity and they are so British. For a long time I have mussed this type of fiction, replaced lately by realism and bad language. These are classics that remind us that writing mysteries stories are about puzzles and keeping the reader intrigued to the end with a sigh of satisfaction when the book is finally finished.
I've discovered a wonderful blog about British Women Writers ( and was reminded that I very much enjoyed Aird's books back 30 years ago. I think I lost track of her as an author and so now I have a new writer whose books (more than 20 in the Inspector Sloan series) I can binge read sometime soon!

And she received an M.B.E for her services to Girl Guides, so she must be a pistol!
Deb Novack
Inspector Sloan and Constable Crosby are called in when a nun is found at the bottom of the basement stairs at the Convent of St Anselma. Sloan is very uncomfortable at the Convent and dealing with the other nuns. This was a well written story with a diverse amount of characters.

***I received this book in return for an honest review***
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Catherine Aird (born 1930) is the pseudonym of author Kinn Hamilton McIntosh. She was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and is the author of more than twenty crime fiction novels and story collections. Her writings are similar to those of Vivien Armstrong, M C Beaton and Pauline Bell.

Aird is creator of the Sloan and Crosby novels, set in the CID department of the fictional Berebury, West Calleshire
More about Catherine Aird...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Sloan (1 - 10 of 24 books)
  • Henrietta Who? (Inspector Sloan #2)
  • The Stately Home Murder (Inspector Sloan #3)
  • A Late Phoenix (Inspector Sloan #4)
  • His Burial Too (Inspector Sloan #5)
  • Slight Mourning (Inspector Sloan #6)
  • Parting Breath  (Inspector Sloan #7)
  • Some Die Eloquent (Inspector Sloan #8)
  • Passing Strange (Inspector Sloan #9)
  • Last Respects (Inspector Sloan #10)
  • Harm's Way (Inspector Sloan #11)

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