The Convent, By Panos Karnezis

Reviewed,Emma Hagestadt
Friday 25 February 2011 01:00 GMT

The Convent of Our Lady of Mercy, a hilltop fastness located in a remote part of the Spanish sierra, is the setting for this unusual ecclesiastical whodunit.

In the 1920s, only six nuns still inhabit the convent, contentedly following a regimen of solitude and contemplation. But life is to alter when a baby boy is found abandoned on the convent steps.

While Mother Superior Maria Ines is determined to keep the infant - she invents a special formula milk and sleeps with him at night - the other sisters aren't so convinced. Sister Ana regards the child as the spawn of the Devil, while Sister Carlota is more interested in fostering stray dogs.

A persuasive and winning storyteller, Karnezis's clerical mystery proves less of a whodunit than a whose-does-it-belong to.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in