Isadore’s Secret – Review


Isadore’s Secret

Author: Mardi Link

Pages: 280 pages

Publisher: The University of Michigan Press

Release Date: August 28th, 2009

Series: n/a

Main Subject(s): The disappearance of Sister Mary Janina from Holy Rosary Church in August of 1907.

Setting: Isadore, Michigan

Began: April 30th, 2017

Finished: May 11th, 2017

Goodreads Summary

A gripping account of the mysterious disappearance of a young nun in a northern Michigan town and the national controversy that followed when she turned up dead and buried in the basement of the church.

High Points

  1. From the moment I read the first page, I was already enthralled. That’s pretty impressive if a book can do that for me.
  2. The fact that the nun backstory within The Skeleton Box by Bryan Gruley was loosely based off of this true crime story was a HUGE plus for me, because the book above turned out to be my favorite in the trilogy. 
  3. The way the author wrote it was very detailed and descriptive. She put a TON of research into this book, and that made it even more enjoyable.
  4. The cast of characters at the end explaining who everyone in the book that she mentioned was in little excerpts. 
  5. Pictures, yay! Helped me visualize it better as if the book was a movie playing out in my head.
  6. The way the author divided the information up was in a clear and concise way.

Low Points

  1. Sometimes it seemed as if the author would go onto a small tangent, not a huge one, mind you, but small. Perhaps, when she was mentioning the bloodhound that was involved early on in the searching for Sister Mary Janina, she continued by explaining the history of bloodhounds up until that timeframe. It added to the page length of the book, but not very much to the story. I didn’t much care for that aspect.
  2. I felt bad for Sister Mary Janina the entire time. 😦 She didn’t deserve to pass the way she did, even if she was pregnant with the Father’s child. Sad, sad, sad. Obviously this isn’t something against the book, but something I just didn’t like, personally. (I also believe Stella did it, so if anyone wants to compare standpoints of the murderer, please feel free to message me!)


This was an extremely well-written true crime novel. I don’t believe the author personally was biased towards any one solution to the murder of Sister Mary Janina, but instead stated the facts and what was truly known through interviews, other books, newspaper articles, etc. I hope to find another book that covers this murder, even if in a general crime book, and see if it has another standpoint on the outcome. My favorite part about this novel was honestly the integrity of the writer. I could tell she put so much effort and work into this, and that made it even more the better. 




0472050796 (ISBN13: 9780472050796)

Buy it at:

Barnes and Noble



Stay sleuthy,





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