This is the seventh in the series so I had to deal with characters that were already established and situations of which I had no prior knowledge. But the author is good at bringing readers up to speed.
The characters are varied and fleshed out in a fashion that gives the reader a good handle on their natures. As is usually the case in murder mysteries, we start out with a discovery of the body—or in this case the coffin. We have some snappy banter between two men who discover the coffin. It’s not quite on the level of the two gravediggers in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” but it’s a bit amusing nonetheless.
Detective Sergeant Jane Tennison has to deal with a clumsy colleague, a slovenly chauvinistic coroner’s office with the risible name of Roger Rogers (what was his mum thinking?) and a panoply of other people who aren’t pleased to discover a mysterious body in the coffin, especially when fabric under the nails indicates the poor sister may have been alive when she was buried.
There’s something about having holy rites mixed up with homicide that lends such deaths a particular kind of spice. You want to know who would do such a sacrilegious thing, whether religion was involved or ignored and just what a nun could have done to warrant such a stuffy death.
This is done on English soil so there may be a few terms that Americans might not know. But the story carries you forth and you can easily grasp meanings from the context. This is my first time reading about DS Jane Tennison but I like her already. Here’s hoping I find out whodunnit to the nun in it.