Sister Pelagia and the Black Monk by Boris Akunin
Why is it that a nun figures out the secrets behind the strange appearances of the black monk at a distant monastery when the three men who investigate before her fail spectacularly? Simple. “Men have no curiosity about anything that they regard as unimportant, but the unimportant often conceals the most essential. When something has to be built, or even better, demolished, then men have no equals. But if patience, understanding, and possibly even compassion are required, then it is best to entrust the business to a woman.”
Set around the turn of the last century, the exact time never mentioned, but there are references to Sherlock Holmes and other things that place it in this era, this investigation into the goings-on at a very strange Russian monastery town is a gripping read. Boris Akunin is an internationally bestselling author – if you read Russian the Bridgewater Library owns many of his mysteries in the original Russian!
This book is filled with Russian history, red herrings and clever twists and turns. I’m typically not a fan of ecclesiastical mysteries, but this one was so well written and so different from the cozy mysteries I usually associate with the subgenre that I will probably give another one a chance very soon.