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Reeves, John.

Toronto, Doubleday, c1984. 186pp, cloth, $14.95, ISBN 0-385-19377-7. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Ted Monkhouse

Volume 13 Number 1
1985 January

After reviewing Reeves's Murder By Microphone a few years back, I remember hoping he would keep on writing in the detective novel genre. I was delighted when Murder By Microphone was dramatized on CBC radio. Murder Before Matins is a better novel and would also adapt well to dramatization. What better locale than a Gilbertine monastery north of Toronto, inhabited by both monks and nuns? Clerical intrigues surface when the Prior is murdered. The reader glimpses the monastic life through the numerous false leads Reeves lays as the police set about entrapping the inside killer.

A rainbow of characters emerge, each well developed for this genre of writing. In addition, the reader's curiosity about the religious life is somewhat satisfied. However, a dictionary at your elbow would be helpful: Reeves enjoys using precise but unfamiliar words on occasion.

This is not a detective novel for the impatient young adult or adult reader. The slower pace and background information would get in the way for those expecting breakneck speed. At a level above the story line, the book can be appreciated and recommended for its thought-provoking information and ideas.

Ted Monkhouse, Wellington County Board of Education, Guelph, Ont.
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