As I read Jane Haddam's Murder Superior, I found myself thinking, "How would you write a book like this?"
First you would plan the murder. You would create the nun's convention for the Sisters of Divine Grace meeting at St. Elizabeth's College in Philadelphia. It would occur around Mother's Day and celebrate the Virgin Mary. (Most of these books center on a holiday.)
You would diagram the buildings, decide what doors have to be propped open, what needs to be done to steal the poison from the college's storeroom, and how they need to make the ice sculptures in the kitchen.
You would write the preparatory sections describing the people, setting the scene, and planting the clues.
Then, and only then (in this case, exactly 50% into the book), you would stage the murder.
In other words, Murder Superior is a typical Jane Haddam Gregor Demarkian novel.
I enjoy these novels because of their characters, the ongoing characters and the characters created for this particular story.
Also, these books are often humorous.
Murder Superior has all that, but it has an especially staged and unbelievable ending.
None of the Haddam books are particularly believable, but some are more so than others. And really, I don't much care. I enjoy watching the whole thing unfold. I enjoy seeing the ongoing characters. And I enjoy the interaction of the new characters.
The first paperback edition of this book appeared in April, 1993.