The show is called Habit of Murder, the first of a trilogy helmed by Sister Vivian Salter, a caustic but brilliant nun who returns to her hometown of Parrsboro to ease her father into a nursing home. Sister Salter is drawn into a macabre mystery when a skeleton is found in the walls of a local church.
“The jumping off point for this story was an actual event,” explains playwright Joanne Miller. “In 2008, a skull was found in the United Baptist Church in Parrsboro. It was deemed to be over 50 years old, but its discovery piqued my curiosity.”
Miller describes writing the play as a giant puzzle that required her to begin at the end. “I learned a lot about mystery writing by working through the process. It was challenging for me because comedy is what I’m most comfortable with, but I think I managed to milk as much comedy as possible out of a story where people get murdered.”
The 2016 installment is being written by Josh MacDonald, and the 2017 installment by Christian Murray and Mary-Colin Chisholm. “I’m really interested to see where this idea goes,” says Miller. “Different writers will bring different things to the plays, but the character of Sister Salter will be the constant.”