A former nun, turned writer and therapist, has written a murder mystery novel, set in a convent.

Helen Weston, who spent five years in Anglican convents - during which time she met her future husband David, who was then a Benedictine abbot - launched 'Silence Interrupted' in Carlisle on Thursday evening. 

The novel is Helen’s third book, following her memoir 'The Winter is Past', which told the story of her clandestine romance, and her first novel 'It is solved by Walking', a suspense story, drawing on her work as a therapist.

“The new novel takes readers deep into the heart of a community bound by the rule of silence, and absolute obedience to the Mother Superior,” Helen said.

“The main character goes to the convent on a silent retreat, and finds a tense and claustrophobic environment- where something has gone terribly wrong.”

Helen Weston said she had drawn ‘on my own experience of convent life to paint an intimate portrait of life in a closed community’.

She added: “My time in the convent did include times of tension, but also experiences of beauty and grace- and certainly no murders!

"It also included meeting David, which changed the course of my life, and led to our marriage, and the birth of our two sons.”

Helen now lives in Cumbria, where she has close links with the Borderlines book festival. She lived in convents in Oxford and London for five years, after studying English at Oxford, and teaching English in Finland.

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She later taught English and creative writing, before training to become a therapist.

Her new novel, published by Troubador at £10.99, was launched at the famous Cumbrian literary cafe Cakes and Ale, in Carlisle at an evening which included a conversation between Helen, and the poet and former Guardian journalist Martyn Halsall.

Silence Interrupted will be available in bookshops, and on-line.