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Quaker Silence

(Elizabeth Elliot Mystery #1)

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  104 ratings  ·  17 reviews
What happens when murder strikes at the heart of the nonviolent Quaker community? Here is the debut of a refreshing and beguiling mystery series with a new sleuth in the time-honored tradition of Miss Marple - yet with a brilliant deductive style that's all her own. Elizabeth Elliot is a widow of some years and considerable moral authority. Since girlhood she has drawn ...more
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published October 6th 1992 by Villard
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Kirsten #squirrelappreciationday #nationalnewenglandchowderday #internationalsweatpantsday
I discovered this series about a year ago and am just now getting to the first in the series. Unfortunately, this author only wrote 4 mysteries. :(

These take place in a Quaker community in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The primary character is the Clerk of the local Meeting. I've always been drawn to the Quakers. My ancestors were Quakers who came to the US in the 17th Century. I've found their philosophy very compelling. Religious doctrine and theology is not nearly as important to them as the
Emily Cullen
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
When one of the members of the Quaker Meeting in Harvard Square is murdered, clerk Elizabeth Elliot has to face the fact that someone among the Friends may well have committed the crime. After a homeless man is put in jail, Elizabeth sets out to prove his innocence. This "Elizabeth Elliot" cozy mystery series is fascinating to me as I am interested in the Quaker lifestyle. The mystery is good and 66 year old Elizabeth is a good sleuth. There are only four books in this series but I am definitely ...more
Diana Sandberg
May 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Oh, very nice indeed. I did pretty well figure out whodunit fairly early, but the mystery story clicks along nicely all the same, the ending had its unexpected aspects, and the characters and storytelling are excellent. I was deeply impressed by the author’s ability to focus on the spiritual nature of the characters, to make that a very important part of the work, without once becoming the least bit preachy - or boring, either. I was very involved. Good stuff
Jenny O
Dec 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved both of Irene Allen's books (I only found the first two) and will look for the others. The mysteries were good, and the description of a little known (to me) religious practice was super interesting. I also loved that her character was older and sometimes invisible, but also cunning and adept at all situations. Well written for an easy reading kind of experience.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
For me, this series is more about daily life of a modern urban Quaker, not so great as a whodunnit. It illustrates several ethical issues that modern Quakers deal with, like gender equality, same-sex relationships, and economic inequities. I enjoy getting inside the head of Elizabeth Elliot, a woman trying to live intentionally and be true to her faith.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Elizabeth Elliot is the Clerk of the Cambridge Quaker Meeting. At the meeting, an older Quaker, John Hoffman, who is quite rich, talks about giving away his money and changing his way of life. The next day Elizabeth finds him dead in his garden with his head bashed in. Tim, a homeless member of the congregation is arrested for the murder, and Elizabeth is sure he didn't do it. Thus, she works to free Tim and investigates to try to find the culprit. Hoffman has left most of his money to his ...more
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
As much as I wanted to like this book, because I've always been fascinated by the Quaker faith, I just couldn't get through it. The story sounded interesting and I was looking forward to finding out about what it's like to be a Quaker from the inside, so to speak, but I bailed after the second or third chapter. I couldn't engage with the writing at all. It was 95% exposition from multiple viewpoints and only 5% dialog. That's a really heavy, plodding way to present a mystery and I couldn't even ...more
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Just discovered this author & series today while browsing the library stacks. Quick read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I appreciated the insights into the Quaker worship practices, as much as the mystery that carries the story.
Ready to read the second book in the series next!
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Plodding and stilted.
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
Quaker Clerk Elizabeth Elliot is certain that the homeless man of their congregation did not kill one of their leading members. An announcement that the wealthy businessman had made in worship indicated that he was making some changes in his will--changes that could negatively affect his nephew who was seeking a judgeship and his business partner as well. Elizabeth tries to talk with the local police, but finds that they had a predisposition to accuse the homeless man and did not want to ...more
Jun 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
As mysteries go, there are others that are more well "mysterious" but that is not why I chose to read this. This is a cozy mystery that is not cutesy however. I read it because through story, it reveals a great deal about the Quaker way of thinking and acting, something I am interested in. The beginning had a bit of an unwieldy start as the author tried to introduce a somewhat large cast of characters. Once that was established, however, the mystery unfolded nicely. A nice story, just not a ...more
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
There's very little gore and guts in this mystery. Instead you'll find a lot of information about Quakers, their beliefs, their philosophies and how that manifests itself in today's world. the mystery is almost secondary in this novel, and it worked. It will be interesting to see how it plays itself out in the next few books.
Aug 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Of interest primarily for its depiction of the Quaker community in Cambridge, MA. Although published in 1992, it reads as if written much earlier than that.
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, pam
I really like Irene Allen's mysteries. While they are not serious literature, they are pleasing diversions that take you into a fictionous serene Quaker community. Definitely books to enjoy.

Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was ok
I learned a little bit about the Quaker religion which was good but otherwise I did not find the plot or the writing particularly compelling.
Mimi Winder
Jul 21, 2016 rated it liked it
OK, easy to read, simple
Feb 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Cleaning off my shelves. Not bad.
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Irene Allen is the pen-name of Dr E Kirsten Peters, former faculty member in Washington State University's Department of Geology. She is a native of rural Washington State who graduated with a degree in geology from Princeton University in 1984. She earned her doctorate from the Earth and Planetary Sciences Department at Harvard University in 1990. She has also done published research in the ...more

Other books in the series

Elizabeth Elliot Mystery (4 books)
  • Quaker Witness (Elizabeth Elliot Mystery #2)
  • Quaker Testimony (Elizabeth Elliot Mystery #3)
  • Quaker Indictment (Elizabeth Elliot Mystery #4)