As readers, we all dream of books that are specifically written for us. Certainly, we sometimes like to be challenged and pulled out of our comfort zone. But most of the time, we sit around asking questions like: Man, I wish someone would write a book in the hardboiled vein of a badass Catholic nun trying to solve a mystery in sun soaked New Orleans. Or words to that effect.
Anyway, yes, Margot Douiahy wrote a book that was basically fine tuned to someone who likes the hardboiled tradition, would like to see it mixed more with progressively religious characters who explore their spirituality in the midst of figuring out a series of crimes that may or may not involve nefarious dealings with the New Orleans Diocese.
However, if that is not your thing, you gotta give this book a hard pass.
The mystery? Eh. Douiahy’s Sister Holiday takes to it because, in her own words, she read a lot of mystery writers growing up and thinks it would be fun to amateur sleuth around. Too often, the book rotates between Sister Holiday’s (very fulfilling) theological musings, her (sometimes interesting, other times distracting) past, and then, the cycle turns to mystery. It’s a good freshman effort but it’s not the most compelling mystery, especially since I didn’t fully grasp the motive of the firebug.
So yeah, this is for me, and if this specific niche applies to you too, go for it. Also, if you like queer characters, you should definitely try this unless you have trauma from institutional religion as this book is gloriously queer. It’s so many other good things that I can forgive it for being just a decent mystery read.