Murder at the Queen’s Old Castle (A Reverend Mother Mystery)

Written by Cora Harrison
Review by Ilysa Magnus

Harrison returns us to 1920s Cork, Ireland in this mystery starring Reverend Mother Aquinas. Reverend Mother is invited to the Queen’s Old Castle—regal sounding, but in reality, a low-end department store near the waterfront. The store has sustained a terrible flood, and the management has opened it to the general public for a fire sale of damaged merchandise. Reverend Mother, always conscious of the needs of her impoverished students, decides to accept the store’s invitation to acquire much-needed dry goods for the children and begins to put together quite a bundle. As she browses, Reverend Mother notices a strong smell of gas.

When the store owner—much-feared, controlling and very unpopular Joseph Fitzwilliam—staggers out of his office perch high above the floor and plunges to his death, Reverend Mother is there to witness. In Fitzwilliam’s hand is a canister in which was contained a lethal dose of gas. Immediately, Reverend Mother begins to consider: Who had reason to kill him? The plot thickens when Fitzwilliam’s will is read and almost everyone in the family becomes suspect.

Harrison’s regular cast of characters—Eileen, Patrick and Dr. Scher—all play crucial roles in investigating. Although the Reverend Mother’s body is aging, her mind is still sharp, can investigate with the best of them. A truly engaging entry in a beloved series.