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Quiet as a Nun

(Jemima Shore #1)

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  570 ratings  ·  71 reviews
When a murder takes place in a secluded tower at Blessed Eleanor's Convent in Sussex and the victim is an old school friend, Britain's most popular TV reporter Jemima Shore finds herself in the middle of a disturbing puzzle. The dead woman, a nun, was to inherit one of the largest fortunes in Britain. Jemima walks into the eye of a worldly storm of fear - and the more she ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 17th 1998 by W. W. Norton Company (first published January 1st 1977)
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Showing 1-30
3.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  570 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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K.D. Absolutely
Oct 30, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: thriller, 501, mystery, crime
My second time to read an Antonia Fraser (born 1932) book. My first by her was a biography, Marie Antoinette: The Journey (4 stars). Lady Antonia Fraser is the widow of Harold Pinter (1930-2008), the 2005 Nobel for Literature winner. Although I liked this book, I thought that Lady Fraser was a better biographer than a detective/thriller novelist.

This book gave birth to Fraser's investigative lady journalist, Jemima Shore whose childhood friend Rosabelle Powerstock is found dead inside the tower
Reader I enjoyed this story.... A case of possible murder in a girls convent school.... Written in the late 70's Fraser felt no need for extreme descriptions of violence and, while raising the possibility of "particular friendships" decides not to muddy the waters too much keeping the plot relatively simple. Having attended a school run by nuns, two of whom abandoned the habit late in life as a courageous gesture of protest against attempts to move the school firmly into the private sector, I fo ...more
This was just ok. I had a really hard time getting into this story and I think it was mainly due to the author's slightly strange writing style. A lot of her sentences felt more like fragments to me than actual sentences and I found myself having to re-read passages quite a bit to make sure I was following the story. It wasn't especially heavy prose - it was just strangely written. The story itself was kind of a cute mystery but was never all that suspenseful or scary.

Lastly, and on a personal
Josephine (Jo)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I read it when it was first published but could not remember the outcome of the mystery. The novel is set in Blessed Eleanor's Convent, a girls' school of which Jemima Shore, 'investigator' was a former pupil.

When Sister Miriam, an old schoolmate of Jemima, is found dead, the headmistress, Mother Ancilla asks Jemima to return to the school and try to ascertain exactly what is going on. After some deliberation, Jemima decides to stay at the convent and do a little
May 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery-thriller
A very lame mystery

Far-fetched, contrived, weak plot, boring characters, insipid dialogues, corny suspense (dark crypt, coffins, etc.) The famous TV investigator heroine doesn't have one interesting thought throughout the book - even her messages to her (married - is that what is supposed to make her interesting ?) boyfriend are unimaginative.
Also, one would have expected better writing from a famous historian. The style is very basic and full of blunders like : "they were exactly similar", "I w
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A thriller set amongst nuns in a cloistered, sheltered world, at least that is what one thinks at the beginning. But Ms. Fraser leads us to discover that these nuns are in reality as flesh and blood, also as quirky and eccentric, as any people we come across in our lives. The mystery is twisting, the writing is witty and clever (making one laugh outloud), the social commentaries are numerous and theology questions abound. I begrudge not one minute that I devoted to this read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Sylvie by: No one. Picked it up at the public library.
Frankly, it's boring. I got about halfway through the book then gave up.

Antonia Fraser's works of nonfiction are excellent scholarly works, but if she's written other novels, and they're anything like Quiet as a Nun, then I'm going to stick with her nonfiction books!
Pamela Mikita
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this! I have read many of Fraser’s non fiction, and was surprised to find this in a used bookstore. It was a very well done mystery for under 200 pages. This was a series and I’ll be on the look out for her others.
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
68. Quiet As A Nun by Antonia Fraser. Jemima Shore spent many school years as a student at the Blessed Eleanor's Convent. There she became good friends with fellow student Rosabelle, the daughter of the wealthy family who owned the land the convent stood on. When the two girls graduated their paths diverged, with Jemima becoming a famous television investigator and Rosa becoming a nun. Years later, Jemima finds herself back at the convent to try and discover what drove her friend to lock herself ...more
Andrea Hickman Walker
Sep 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, religion
You never know what you'll find in a library. On my last trip there this book caught my eye, so I thought I may as well read it. It was definitely worth reading. There were certain characters (like the main character) that I took a while to warm to, but it was a good read and a well-written thriller. Particularly considering that I had no idea that Antonia Fraser wrote this sort of thing - I thought she only focused on historical stuff. I'll certainly keep an eye out for others in this series, b ...more
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This book was a fast read but not engrossing. The mystery was predictable and I was put off by the way the nuns were portrayed. I never got the sense that the author understood what it means to be a nun or a Catholic. I suppose this should be fine as the heroine is neither, however, it detracted from the quality of the story for me. I found myself just wanting to finish the book so I can move on to another.
Cooper Renner
Aug 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
First-rate mystery which was "contemporary" when it was published and is virtually historical now. Set on convent grounds and concerning political maneuvers which might threaten the convent with dismantling to make way for low-income housing. (And yes, there does seem to be some implicit criticism of government "welfare" but maybe I'm hyper-sensitive on that issue.)
Oct 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: genre-mystery
I really like what I've read of Fraser's work as a historian, but this was a very frustrating novel; it was both unsatisfying as a mystery and the prose while usually competent sometimes became quite annoyingly bad. I am going to try another one of her books, though, in the hopes that she has improved as a novelist with practise.
Apr 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: murdermystery
This is one of those books I'm reading to the end because I started it. It's not good.
Nicole Marble
I just couldn't finish it. There was something about the style of writing that just put me off
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
A nun apparently starved herself to death in a tower. "Television reporter Jemima Shore is a former schoolfriend of Sister Miriam, who was also known as Rosabelle Powerstock and was heiress to "the Powers fortune", one of the largest fortunes in Britain. Jemima is invited back to the convent by Reverend Mother Ancilla, where she uncovers a number of mysteries, including the suggestion that Miriam, whose family owned the convent lands, may have written a second will bequeathing them away from the ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book of the Jemima Shore series and was published in 1977 so it seems a little dated but I suppose, similar to some of the older writers like Christie, as time passes the details will seem less dated and more "classical". The story is low key and the murders are not really recognized as such until the book is far advanced. It is a short novel at less than 200 pages and because the approach is a more gentle one it is not high on action and the suspense element is very muted. The ...more
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Quiet as a Nun is just one of those books you stumble upon on the days of summer, something akin to an interesting leisure read, about which I've also learned that was developed into a miniseries known for one one of the most famous thriller scenes created in Britain. What I enjoyed the most was the atmosphere of the convent, a link between the schoolchildren and the nuns, the latter being surrogate mothers for their temporary residents, not so much about the twists and turns of the main detecti ...more
William Harris
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this little book at a thrift store in Spain for 2 Euros. I was desperate for books in English at the time, so I bought it. I was surprised at how well written and suspenseful this book was. The characters developed fluently and the story was quite interesting. This would be a great book for young readers to build vocabulary and foster an interest in reading.

Interestingly enough there are a lot of books written by Fraser based on the protagonist Jemima Shore, who knows maybe I will find th
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
easy thriller
When a murder takes place in a secluded tower at Blessed Eleanor's Convent in Sussex and the victim is an old school friend, Britain's most popular TV reporter Jemima Shore finds herself in the middle of a disturbing puzzle. The dead woman, a nun, was to inherit one of the largest fortunes in Britain. Jemima walks into the eye of a worldly storm of fear - and the more she learns, the clearer it becomes that more lives, including her own, are being threatened.
Just reread this oldie for my Crime and a Cuppa series. This is the first in a series by Antonia Fraser better known for her lengthy biographies. It’s a nice introduction to the characters and if I remember correctly the books get better as the series grows. Dated, of course, but not yet reaching the status of historical, at least in this old lady’s view.
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
Jemima Shore, one of Britain's most popular reporters, is asked to investigate the death of a nun at Blessed Eleanor's Convent in Sussex. The victim was a school friend of Jemima's and the heir to a tremendous fortunes and so there is great interest in the case. The first book in a series.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wasn't thrilled with this one. I felt it was all over the place, literally; within one paragraph locations would shift, as well as time-it was difficult to follow. I also figured out very early one who the black nun was and where the second will was hidden, so there was no great mystery.
Jul 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Solid mystery! A nice blend of history, intrigue, sort of Agatha Christie-like.
Eric Grounds
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a short, beautifully written book about a mystery in convent. Very easy to read. Good fun
Maritza Campos
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
An unusual little mystery. Utterly enjoyable and at points deliciously creepy
Jack Heath
Oct 21, 2018 marked it as to-read
Synopsis: when a murder takes place at Blessed Eleanor's Convent, the victim is a friend of Britain's popular TV reporter Jemima Shore.
Mary  Mendoza
Feb 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: england, mystery
My first time with this author. Spoiler: not sure I'll continue with the series since our heroine is yet another fool hopelessly in-love-with-a-married-man, which I find sad and discouraging.
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Play Book Tag: Quiet As A Nun by Antonia Fraser - 3 stars 1 10 Feb 19, 2019 12:37AM  
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Antonia Fraser is the author of many widely acclaimed historical works, including the biographies Mary, Queen of Scots (a 40th anniversary edition was published in May 2009), Cromwell: Our Chief of Men, King Charles II and The Gunpowder Plot (CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger; St Louis Literary Award). She has written five highly praised books which focus on women in history, The Weaker Vessel: Women's ...more

Other books in the series

Jemima Shore (10 books)
  • The Wild Island (Jemima Shore, #2)
  • A Splash of Red (Jemima Shore, #3)
  • Cool Repentance (Jemima Shore, #4)
  • Oxford Blood (Jemima Shore, #5)
  • Your Royal Hostage (Jemima Shore, #6)
  • The Cavalier Case (Jemima Shore, #7)
  • Political Death (Jemima Shore, #8)
  • Jemima Shore's First Case: And Other Stories
  • Jemima Shore at the Sunny Grave and Other Stories