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The Religious Body

Narrated by: Robin Bailey
Series: The Calleshire Chronicles, Book 1
Length: 5 hrs and 17 mins
4.3 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Who would want to kill a nun? That was the problem facing Inspector C.D. Sloan of the Berebury CID when the body of Sister Anne was found at the foot of the cellar steps at the Convent of St Anselm.

Sloan soon found that interviewing half a hundred black-habited sisters as potential suspects for murder was no easy task - especially when he realised that, to him, one nun looked very much like the next, and every sister had an assumed name - and a past...

©1966 Catherine Aird (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about The Religious Body

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Profile Image for Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe
  • Victoria J. Mejia-Gewe
  • 11-06-2018

Introducing Inspector C.D. Sloan

In <strong>The Religious Body</strong> by Catherine Aird, all is still at the Convent of St. Anselm when Sister Gertrude goes to wake up all the other 50 nuns. Knowing that Sister Anne's cell sits next to a loud snorer, Sister Gertrude assumes her fellow nun has escaped from the noise unbidden. But when she doesn't see Sister Anne at breakfast, she decides to tell the Reverend Mother, at the same time that Sister Peter discovers that the fingerprint she left on the gradual is of blood. Now Detective Inspector C.D. Sloan of the Berebury CID enters the scene, for Sister Anne's body has been found at the bottom of the stairs of the cellar. But who would want to kill a nun? Could it be the cousin who suddenly showed up after 20 years? Or boys from the agricultural institute next door? Or even another nun? With 1966's <strong>The Religious Body</strong>, Catherine Aird entered the world of mystery fiction. She's actually a little late to be considered from the Golden Age of Mystery, but I consider her writing to conform to the style of those of the Golden Age. In this book we first meet Inspector C.D. Sloan, along with his barely competent Detective Constable Crosby. I enjoy the pun Aird uses in creating the name of the medical examiner, Dr. Dab. The British use the term dabs to indicate fingerprints, as seen in the Ngaio Marsh books. The final regular character of the series who gets introduced is Superintendent Lees, who is highly fond of taking adult education classes and citing his new learnings to all and sundry. <strong>The Religious Body</strong> opens our eyes to the mysterious world of the convent and nuns. We see the day to day routines of the nuns, things they hold fast to as much as possible even amid the disruption of a murder. The nuns are the most frustrating of witnesses, as they make a practice of "guarding their eyes and thoughts." In other words, to them, it is a sin to observe what is going on around them because they should be looking internally and not at the actions of others. Trying to determine how to respond is complicated for them: "Truly it was a difficult path that they chose when they left the world." Even though the nuns seem so confusing and foreign to the detectives, we develop a real respect for the woman who have chosen to take this form of life. We also note the double meaning of the title, both the body of the religious nun who has been murdered and the broader sense of the Christian world in general. The plot of this book has some really interesting angles. Besides observing life in the convent, we see the actions of the boys at the agricultural Institute next door, who try to burn an effigy of a nun during their Guy Falkes celebration, and this nun is wearing Sister Anne's glasses. We also see the actions of Harold Cartwright, the cousin who had suddenly shown up. Why would he appear out of the blue now? I found the book to be highly engaging, especially the conclusion, which was exciting and surprising. Robin Bailey performs the audio edition of this book. He sounds really good as the narrator of the book, with a deep voice and good intonations. His voice sounds ideal for the role of C.D. Sloan. I first listened to Bailey in Agatha Christie's <em>The Clocks</em> and was less than impressed with that, but I do like his performance of <strong>The Religious Body</strong>. He delivers his narration with strong expression without any extra emotionalism. This book is a creative, fun book with a clever premise and unique coinclusion. The detectives have interesting characters, while the writing style is witty, with fun language play. I have listened to this book several times and enjoyed it each one. I give the book five stars.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kellie without the K
  • 01-08-2019

The best part is the narrator!

Mr Bailey brings life to the story. I could not stop listening. One of my favorite narrators now.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 18-08-2018

Inanely Interminable..A Sloth Running a Marathon Would Be Less Plodding

Sweet Jesus..!!.. I thought it would NEVER end.. I am always committed to finishing a book I’ve started ,.. but after this stinker,.. I might have to revise my dedication to see an audiobook to the bitter end... No characters worth getting to know.. narrator needed a drool cup , as he had too much saliva going at any time.. no surprise ending, no twists, .. nothing of interest.. 😑 UGH

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • michael benson
  • 14-06-2016

the Religious Body

Well done. The reading was very good and the writing was excellent. Well composed mystery with good character development.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Verna Wilder
  • 14-07-2017

Narrator distracting

What made the experience of listening to The Religious Body the most enjoyable?

The story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Not relevant

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I disliked the narration. The narrator makes all of the men sound like aristocratic British, uppity and bored.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

I found it hard to follow the story only because the narration was so annoying.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Raylene
  • 18-10-2020

Excellent mystery

Robin Bailey is a perfect narrator for this British mystery. I look forward to listening to more Catherine Aird books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for E. E. Kennedy
  • E. E. Kennedy
  • 24-09-2020

One of Aird’s best

Usually, an author’s work improves with later books, but this one was great from the get-go.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-04-2020

Fun read!

I really enjoyed this new author, to me, and so glad I found her 1st in this series. So looking forward to many more.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • wahoo1265
  • 23-03-2020

Very Good

This was a good book to listen to in bed while falling asleep. The narrator had a soothing voice, the story was easy to follow and the plot wasn’t too “twisty.”

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for SK Smith
  • SK Smith
  • 13-01-2020

Enjoyable

Enjoyable read. 1st in series for Inspector Sloan who is a great character with a dry wit. Narrator was very good also.

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Profile Image for Caroline
  • Caroline
  • 30-05-2014

Absorbing story intelligently read.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have read several Catherine Aird books but this is the first Audiobook. Having formed my own ideas of C.D.Sloan and Crosby, I was very pleased to hear them rendered not too far from my ideas. I would certainly recommend this to friends who enjoy cosy whodunit/detective procedurals.

What other book might you compare The Religious Body to, and why?

It's not far removed from P D James Death in Holy Orders, although P D James goes further into the individual characters. The main premise that one individual in religious garb looks much like any other is common to both.

Have you listened to any of Robin Bailey’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Haven't so far, but will. I thought he was very good. Loved especially the Irish accents. More to the point, one always knows who the speaking character is even with very subtle changes to the voice, which is quite an achievement.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Well, no. But it kept me interested to the end, even while cooking the supper with head-phones on!

Any additional comments?

I enjoy all Catherine Aird books. I liked Robin Bailey as the narrator. I have seen comments from some American reviewers who have taken against Robin Bailey as being 'too English' for God's sake!

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • H. Tollyfield
  • 23-08-2020

A little gem of a mystery

I've only just discovered Catherine Aird as a crime author and I think her books are little gems. They only average about 5 hours as an audiobook, but she manages to fill the time with a well-structured, well-paced narrative, peopled with believable characters and some satisfying twists and turns in the plot. Added to this is a nice leavening of gentle, witty humour which adds a bit of sparkle to the grim tales of murder. In this book the tension between the main character, Inspector Sloan, and the community of nuns, an environment in which he feels completely out of place, adds to the mystery and provides some humorous moments. It took me a little while to get used to Robin Bailey's style as a narrator, but I think he is well suited to the story and carries it forward very well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs Smith
  • 16-01-2020

Perfect.

Excellent crime story by the underrated Catherine Aird - and, as always, sublime narration and characterisation by Robin Bailey.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • muggsie
  • 02-07-2018

awgul

awful!!! flimsy storyline..narrator has the voice o hammy Shakespearean actor....will be returning this book immediately