Authors: Alice Loweecey
Tags: #female protagonist, #Humorous Fiction, #cozy mystery, #murder mystery series, #Women Sleuths, #humorous mysteries, #Cozy Mystery Series, #private investigator series, #murder mysteries, #detective novels, #mystery books, #british cozy mystery, #english mysteries, #humorous murder mysteries, #female sleuths, #british mystery, #murder mystery books
Praise for the Giulia Driscoll Mystery Series
SECOND TO NUN (#2)
“Giulia is a sympathetic, well-drawn character who has built a full life for herself after she leaving the convent, but appealing touches of the former nun remain.”
“Driscoll’s second solo turn as a sleuth (after
Nun Too Soon
) offers a fun and fast read with a lot of appeal.”
– Library Journal
“Former nun and current private eye Giulia Driscoll tackles ghosts with the same wit and wisdom she uses to tackle crooks. Great fun.”
– Terrie Farley Moran,
Agatha Award-Winning Author of the Read ’Em and Eat Mysteries
“Loweecey’s characters are colorful without being caricatures, and once again we’re lucky that Giulia Driscoll left the convent behind. She solves the crime with a happy mix of online savvy, humor and intelligence.”
– Sheila Connolly,
New York Times
Bestselling Author of
An Early Wake
“Loweecey is herself a former nun, and she brings to Giulia all of this inner conflict, residual guilt, and disillusionment…and how can you not love an author who quotes from the movies
? Giulia’s recent marriage adds a delightful dash of romance, but the real appeal of this series is her genuine likability and fiery independent streak that could never be hidden behind a veil.”
Kings River Life Magazine
“Loweecey has once again crafted a delightful, sassy, smart tale that will send the hair on the back of your head skyward and keep your eyes glued to the page. I loved it!”
– Jessie Chandler,
Author of the Award-Winning Shay O’Hanlon Caper Series
NUN TOO SOON (#1)
“Exciting and suspenseful.”
“For those who have not yet read these incredible mysteries written by an actual ex-nun, you’re missing out...Brilliant, funny, a great whodunit; this is one writer who readers should definitely make a ‘habit’ of.”
“With tight procedural plotting, more flavoured coffee than you could shake a pastry at, and an ensemble cast who’ll steal your heart away,
Nun Too Soon
is a winner. I’m delighted that Giulia–and Alice!–left the convent for a life of crime.”
– Catriona McPherson,
Agatha Award-Winning Author of the Dandy Gilver Mystery Series
“You’ll love Giulia Driscoll! She’s one of a kind—quirky, unpredictable and appealing. With an entertaining cast of characters, a clever premise and Loweecey’s unique perspective—this compelling not-quite-cozy is a winner.”
– Hank Phillippi Ryan,
Mary Higgins Clark Award-Winning Author of
Truth Be Told
“Grab your rosary beads and hang on for a fun ride with charming characters, amusing banter, and a heat-packing former nun.”
– Barb Goffman,
Macavity Award-Winning Author
Books in the Giulia Driscoll Mystery Series
by Alice Loweecey
NUN TOO SOON (#1)
SECOND TO NUN (#2)
NUN BUT THE BRAVE (#3)
(prequel to NUN TOO SOON)
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SECOND TO NUN
A Giulia Driscoll Mystery
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Collection
Kindle edition | September 2015
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including internet usage, without written permission from Henery Press, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Copyright © 2015 by Alice Loweecey
Cover art by Stephanie Chontos
This is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), humorous murder mysteries, book club recommendations, private investigator mystery series.
Printed in the United States of America
To my family, who are still waiting to be killed off in a heart-wrenching scene in one of my books. Not this time, guys.
As always, thanks to my Awesome Agent, Kent D. Wolf; and my terrific editor, Rachel Jackson. To Natalie Case, for sharing her Tarot expertise. To my fellow Hens for their continual support and encouragement. And to everyone whose phobias include clowns and creepy dolls, my apologies.
Hot, tired, and triumphant, Giulia Driscoll pushed open Driscoll Investigations’ frosted glass door.
“Nobody talk to me until I rip these nylon torture devices off my legs.”
She hung her purse on the coat rack and headed straight for the narrow bathroom. Seconds later, she stuffed her pantyhose into the pocket of her navy blue suit jacket and wiggled blissfully free toes. She opened the door again, carrying her low-heeled shoes in her left hand.
“A few years back, I thought pretending to be a nun again was the worst undercover job I’d ever have. Wrong. If that company calls me for a follow-up interview, I’m wearing pants.”
Zane, her all-but-genius admin, looked at her with that expression men get when women are the most inscrutable creatures on the planet. Sidney, her perky, all-natural assistant, fist-bumped Giulia as she went past.
“If I ever try to institute a formal dress code here,” Giulia said, “you have permission to pour cold water over my head until I come to my senses.”
“Did they fall for it?” Zane said.
“Did you catch the cheating scumbag harassing the receptionist?” Sidney said.
“To answer Zane’s question: Possibly. I gave the HR person ideal canned answers as much as I could. That’s one reason I used my maiden name. You never know if someone’s heard of Driscoll Investigations.”
She pulled out a chair at the worktable under the single window and stretched her spine, dangling her head over the back of the chair and dropping the shoes in the same motion.
The position gave her an upside-down view of the stores across the street: The pizza place that filled the air with the aroma of frying sausage every morning, the celebrity tanning studio, the combination New Age/Tarot Reading shop, and the cell phone store on the corner. The pre-lunch rush had started. Several people headed into the cell phone store. The pizza delivery Honda pulled into traffic after a taxi and a city bus zoomed past. The tanning salon looked deserted, as always. A tall, white-haired woman in flowered capris and a blue camp shirt came out of the Tarot shop.
Zane said, “How soon did they ask you about your greatest weakness?”
Giulia sat up again and laughed. “It’s one of the questions on the intake form.”
Zane leaned forward, his white-blond hair falling over his eyes. “Do they think anyone answers that question honestly?”
“Maybe it’s their inside joke. Sidney, the cheating scumbag did indeed harass the receptionist. He’s so good at it—you know what I mean—that if I hadn’t been looking for inappropriate touching I wouldn’t have noticed anything out of the ordinary.”
Zane mirrored Sidney’s frown so well they looked like the positive and negative prints of a photograph. “Seriously, why is that receptionist putting up with his crap? This isn’t the 1950s. The company’s employee handbook has to have a section on sexual harassment.”
“It’s not that straightforward. The CEO and the scumbag are golf and drinking buddies. He’s done this before and gotten away with it. He targets a low-level employee who can’t afford to make trouble at the job. The receptionist’s disabled father lives with her and her income pays the rent. She needs the job for that and the health insurance.”
Sidney made a noise that sounded like an angry bear. “We’ve got giant hogweed in the fields behind our alpaca pasture. Let’s toss him into it naked.”
Giulia said, “Is it similar to poison ivy?”
“Not even close. Hogweed gets like ten feet tall and causes blisters and burns that can hang on for years.”
“That’s much better than my idea of dumping him into the koi fountain in the company’s lobby.” Giulia stood, still barefoot. “Did I miss anything around here?”
The door burst open. The white-haired woman from the Tarot shop strode in and looked at all three of them in turn.
“I need the owner, right now.”
Giulia stepped forward. “I’m Giulia Driscoll. How may I help you?”
The woman grabbed Giulia’s hand and dragged her toward the door. “I have to take you to Lady Rowan.”
Giulia dug her heels into the just-buffed wood floor. “Release my hand, please.”
The woman tugged harder. Giulia braced against her and kept herself in the same spot.
“Please release my hand.”
“All right.” The woman complied. “I’m sorry, but this is urgent. Lady Rowan told me that I must seek the Veiled Woman immediately.”
Giulia glanced at Sidney and Zane, who both shrugged.
“She’s the Tarot reader, of course.” The woman pointed out the window with her left hand and reached into her straw purse with her right. “Here.” She slapped a checkbook with a lighthouse cover on Zane’s desk. “Private detectives get a retainer, right? They always do in the movies. You hold my checkbook while I take your boss to consult with Rowan. When we return I’ll pay for this appointment.”
Giulia slipped bare feet into her shoes. This promised to be much better than spying on a cheating husband. “Let’s go.”