Father Anselm is poisoned as he prepares to say mass at New Mexico's Our Lady of Hope Monastery. The murderer uses a contact poison available from a common plant in the area.
Maybe the murderer only meant to make the priest ill.
In any case, Sister Agatha, an extern nun in the cloistered order, is on the case. She has her sidekick Pax, a retired police dog.
As an extern, Sister Agatha is one of two nuns who can go into the world. It is her world. The sheriff is a former boyfriend. They had more than a Platonic relationship.
I read the story in bits and pieces as we traveled. A simple story, it was easy to keep track of. At least a part of the solution became clear early in the book. The authors filled the book with character-giving details. Sister Agatha drives a souped-up motorcycle with a sidecar for Pax. They call the monastery’s dilapidated car the anti-Chrysler.
The monastery faces money problems. Its main ways of supporting itself--baking communion bread and copying old manuscripts--are tenuous. Their ovens and computers are always breaking down.
For me, this was a classic cozy with the added benefit of a look into cloistered life. The story is simple, somewhat contrived, but fun to read.
As I said, this was the perfect book to read during the breaks while traveling.