Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Vow of Evil

Vow of Evil by Veronica Black
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Vow of Evil by Veronica Black is book 11 of the Sister Joan mystery series set in Cornwall. Sister Joan belongs to the religious order The Daughters of Compassion. They live on an estate that used to belong to a wealthy family, in an historic mansion the order has converted to spartan quarters. The order is in financial straits. The nuns don't have any prospects of new postulates to join the order (and provide dower money). Mother Dorothy decides to rent out the separate dwelling used to house novitiates for their first year, before they professed their religious choice, then joined the nuns in the main house.

The Daughters of Compassion are gentle and tolerant as a rule, but the new renters are difficult and unpleasant tenants. They don't respect the boundaries of the rental property vs. the convent. They are noisy, nosy, careless, messy, amoral. They bring many more people to live in the house, than their rental contract stipulates.

Meanwhile in the nearby town and surrounding countryside, disturbing events occur. Acts of vandalism to property are vicious and obscene. Animals are cruelly tortured and killed. A young woman from the gypsy camp goes missing. An elderly widow in the town becomes obsessed with sightings of the devil, and she dies not long after. Sister Joan is unsettled by the clear presence of evil. She investigates as best she can, when allowed to leave the convent after fulfilling her assigned tasks. When a policewoman is killed, Detective Mills requests Sister Joan's help. Together they uncover past secrets linking the unwelcome tenants to the recent crime spree. The tenants are apprehended by the police on the eve of Samhain (Halloween), just in time to prevent their planned celebration of Satan worship.
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