SISTER CAROL ANNE O'MARIE has been a Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for the past forty-seven years. She ministers to homeless women at a daytime drop-in center in downtown Oakland, California, which she cofounded in 1990. "REQUIEM AT THE REFUGE "is her eleventh novel featuring Sister Mary Helen.
Eightyish Sister Mary Helen is almost resigned to retirement and is learning to knit when a young friend, Sister Anne, suggests she volunteer at the Refuge, a shelter for homeless women in San Francisco. But during her first hours there, Sister Mary Helen finds the battered corpse of a young prostitute. As in previous books in this series (Death Takes Up a Collection, Death of an Angel), O'Marie's feisty heroine proves the match for any professional detective. The author, a San Francisco nun of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, evokes convent life in the '90s with simple reverence and gentle humor. Who else would use such a homely aphorism as "If beggars were horses, this entire hill would be full of manure" on the same page with a passage ("O Beauty of ancient days, yet ever new") from the Confessions of St. Augustine? The clients of the Refuge, mostly past-their-prime prostitutes, are portrayed with compassion, yet with no attempt to sanitize the sordid realities of their lives. On Nob Hill, meanwhile, Richard Dunn, successful lawyer and erstwhile candidate for governor, is romancing the lovely Amanda, a paralegal in his firm. His plain, plump wife, Betsy, awaits him at home, finally facing the fact that he is a philandering heel. O'Marie twines the strands of these disparate lives with humor and sympathy. Readers won't forget, in particular, the authentic prostitutes Venus, Candy, Genie, Crazy Alice, Peanuts and Miss Bobbie. Mary Helen unravels the mess with her usual insight and sturdy independence, aided, she firmly believes, by her good friend God, who loves them all. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
"O'Marie twines the strands of these disparate lives with humor and sympathy." --"Publishers Weekly" on "Requiem at the Refuge""""The author's heady mix of humor and suspense again proves irresistible."--"Publishers Weekly" on "The Missing Madonna""Shrewd and fearless, Sister [Mary Helen] is as effiicient as she is endearing." --"San Francisco Chronicle" on "Murder in Ordinary Time""""A tidy mystery...a satisfying read." --"Publishers Weekly" on "Murder in Ordinary Time""""Enlivened by its series of incisive character studies--and sure to please the Sister's legions of fans." --"Kirkus Reviews "on "Death Takes Up a Collection""""An excellent mystery series...hard to put down." --"Booklist" on "Death of an Angel""""Sister Mary Helen is a welcome addition to the growing ranks of ecclesiastical detectives, a tough and compassionate elderly nun who understands the secrets of the human heart all too well." --Andrew M. Greeley on "A Novena for Murder""""Sister Carol writes with sure knowledge, a deft touch."--"The Houston Post" on "A Novena for Murder""Hair-raising...a fast-moving, fast-reading story. [The] characters are delightfully real....This is one you won't want to put down." --"West Coast Review of Books" on "A Novena for Murder"