Nun Too Soon

Nun Too Soon

by Alice Loweecey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940976655
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication date: 01/13/2015
Pages: 282
Sales rank: 597,763
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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CHAPTER 1

Giulia Falcone-Driscoll — formerly Sister Mary Regina Coelis — slammed open the door to her private office.

"Sidney, I'm going to kill my husband."

Driscoll Investigations' pregnant assistant jumped a whole inch out of her chair. "Don't startle a woman in her thirty-seventh week, please."

"Sorry, mini-Sidney," Giulia said to the almost-ready baby. "I didn't mean to scare your mama. Make sure you spit up on Frank the first time he holds you."

Sidney — named for a rich uncle who had the gall not to leave all his money to Sidney's parents — giggled. "If you kill him, cover your tracks, okay? I don't want to get dragged into a murder investigation while I'm nursing."

Giulia slumped against the doorframe. "No jury in the world will convict me when they hear his latest gem, assuming the lawyers select twelve married women for the trial." Her curly brown hair bounced over her shoulders. It was distracting, but still preferable to trapping it beneath a black veil.

Across the sunny room, Giulia's admin stared at her from beneath white-blond bangs. Sidney glanced at Giulia, then drew Giulia's gaze toward the admin.

"Zane," Giulia said, "please stop shrinking into your chair like a cornered rabbit."

"Sorry, Ms. Driscoll."

He began typing at an alarming rate. Recently hired away from a gigantic accounting, loan, and paycheck processing company, Zane still tended to react like an escaped prisoner.

Giulia huffed. "Zane, stop. You are allowed to take part in our conversations. You're not in Cube Hell anymore. I'm not micromanaging you. You're here because you have incredible analytic skills and because you fit in with our group dynamic."

"Sidney said it's because I sound like Humphrey Bogart when I answer the phone."

"Sidney has a big mouth and she will need to go to confession this Saturday."

The phone rang. Zane turned away from both of them before picking up the receiver.

"Good morning, Driscoll Investigations."

"Schweethaht," Giulia finished in a whisper. Sidney spluttered into her hands. Giulia bit the inside of her cheek so she wouldn't do the same.

"Why are you planning Frank's funeral service this time?" Sidney asked in her stage whisper.

"He called to say he invited his oldest brother and his wife and their three kids for dinner. Tonight." Giulia kept her voice low so Zane wouldn't be distracted.

"It's almost noon," Sidney said.

"I pointed that out to him. He said he knows I can do it and whatever I make will be fine. I wonder if broiled Leg of Frank Driscoll will taste good with a garlic and red wine sauce."

Sidney put her hand on her phone. "I'll call The Scoop and tell them to be at your house at ... seven-thirty?"

Giulia made a gagging noise. "That pack of TMZ-wannabes gives pond scum a bad name. If they stick their camera in my face I might forget my Franciscan ideals of peace and reconciliation."

Sidney adjusted her position in her chair. Pregnancy hadn't altered her college athlete physique much. And nothing could change her perky disposition — not even a baby kicking her ribcage.

Zane put the call on hold. "Ms. Driscoll, Colby Petit of Creighton, Williams, Ferenc, and Steele is on line one."

Giulia's eyebrows disappeared into her too-long curls. "Solid law firm. I don't know that particular lawyer's name ... wait ..."

Zane's fingers worked magic on his keyboard. "He successfully litigated the 'bus stop pickpocket' trial last November."

"Right." Giulia came around behind Zane's desk. "Got the guy's sentence reduced to probation and restitution," she read from the news report on his screen, "and got himself a commendation from the judge. So he's a do-gooder with a smooth tongue. I'll take it on my phone. Thanks."

Giulia closed herself into her half of Driscoll Investigations' office space. When her husband had run the business, the room's only personalization had been a basketball hoop attached to the off-white wall above the wastepaper basket. Seven months earlier he returned to the police force as a detective and Giulia became the owner of Driscoll Investigations.

Now the walls were painted a soft lemon yellow, linen-like curtains covered the blinds on the window, and every piece of visible wood glowed from hand-polishing and buffing. "You can take the gal out of the convent," Giulia used to say, "but the convent still tries to cling to the gal." That clinging included ten years of manual labor skills learned at the altars of stovetop cooked starch, Lime-Away, and Wood Preen.

She sat in her ergonomic secretary chair — secretaries did all the real work so their chairs gave the best support — and pressed the button for line one on the phone.

"This is Giulia Falcone-Driscoll."

"Ms. Driscoll, this is Colby Petit." His voice blended a nasal quality with the melodious tones of a trained elocutionist. "I'm representing Roger Lambelin Fitch. Does the name mean anything to you?"

"Uh ... it's a fancy frilled rose that won first prize at last year's home and garden show."

"Jesus Chri — sorry. Sorry." He inhaled and coughed. "Those leeches from The Scoop tried to catch me with that reference at six this morning. Hadn't even had coffee. I nearly said something that would not have looked good on the news. Anyway. Mr. Fitch is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Loriela Gil, last April. The Silk Tie Murder?"

Giulia typed the phrase into Google. "Of course. Roger the pianist. We've worked in the same community theater orchestra a few times." She picked out highlights of the news summary. "Roger was released shortly after the murder. What's changed since then?"

"I don't want to go into details over the phone. Can you meet me for lunch? I have a proposition for Driscoll Investigations."

Giulia chewed her bottom lip. She shouldn't. They were in the middle of that discreet embezzlement investigation for AtlanticEdge in which Roger Fitch's name was prominent. Plus the Diocese of Pittsburgh's background checks. Plus two interviews this afternoon for a temp to cover Sidney's maternity leave.

"Ms. Driscoll." The attorney's practiced voice became brisk. "I'm only asking an hour of your time. Did I mention lunch reservations at Airi?"

Visions of homemade wasabi plus ginger ice cream danced in Giulia's head. Well, she needed lunch. And she could pay for it herself. She wouldn't bring up the conflict of interest. Client privilege, plus she trusted no attorney. If she said the words "conflict of interest" to this one, he'd be all over it like a rash.

"All right, Mr. Petit. Half an hour, then? I'll meet you there."

She regretted her decision half a second after she hung up the phone. "Falcone, you're not as devious as you pretend."

She opened the door between the offices. "Guys, I'm meeting that lawyer for lunch."

Sidney nodded, deep in a transfer of handwritten notes to her computer.

Zane said, "I sent the background documents for the new Seminarian candidates to your iPad."

"Excellent. Thank you. One of the best things to come out of my years at the convent was the Diocese trusting an ex-nun with their private business. I should be back by two at the latest. Go ahead and stagger lunch."

"I can eat at my desk, Ms. Driscoll. We all had to inhale our food at PayWright."

Giulia glared at Zane. "Get out of here and breathe different air. Walk. Enjoy a warm early March day because we're bound to get snow by the end of the week. The brain works better with different stimulation." She wrinkled her nose at herself. "Why do you make me feel like I'm your Scout Leader?"

Zane smiled, wiped it from his face, then raised his right hand. "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty." When Giulia groaned, he said, "I got to the rank of Star before I rebelled."

"If next winter is as bad as the one a few years back, we know whose house to descend on for heat and shelter." She grabbed her houndstooth blazer from the coat rack by the door. "Sidney, no labor pains 'til I hire a temp, please."

CHAPTER 2

Giulia parked her eight-year-old copper Saturn Ion — secretly dubbed the Nunmobile — in the last open space in Airi's parking lot. The deceptively beautiful March day appeared to have lured out every office worker in Cottonwood, Pennsylvania.

The decibel level of the combined conversations in the small Japanese restaurant stopped Giulia cold in the doorway. There wasn't a free booth or table in the place. She inhaled garlic and tuna and ginger and barbecued beef.

A hostess appeared before her just as she saw a close-shaved black man in a sober gray suit waving from a booth near the front windows.

"I think I'm with him," Giulia said, pointing.

"Right this way, miss." The hostess weaved through the tables and Giulia followed, apologizing twice to diners for bumping the backs of two chairs.

The lawyer stood and held out his hand. "Ms. Driscoll. I'm Colby Petit. Pleased to meet you."

They shook hands and Giulia slid into the other side of the two-person booth. A waitress set glasses of water and menus in front of Giulia and the lawyer. They studied the Guaranteed Ready in Five Minutes lunch specials without conversation until the waitress returned.

"Tempura vegetables with miso soup, please," Giulia said.

"Spicy beef with seaweed salad, thanks," Petit said.

The moment the waitress turned away, Petit smiled at Giulia and she understood how he charmed judges and juries.

"Thank you for agreeing to meet with me on such short notice. I don't know if you're aware of the history of the case?"

Giulia debated on taking out her iPad to make notes. Too deceptive. Instead, she put on her polite face. "Not any longer, no."

He nodded. "That might be good. You'll have a fresh perspective. In brief, last April first my client and his girlfriend went to sleep together and when he woke up she was out on their balcony, strangled with one of my client's neckties."

Their food arrived. The ambient noise remained at a level above one of Frank's rec league basketball games. Good thing Giulia's ears had two years of navigating that kind of racket.

She started her soup. Petit talked through his salad.

"He was arrested immediately and called me that same morning. Forty-eight hours later, the police released him because all the evidence was circumstantial."

Giulia resisted the temptation to tilt her soup bowl up against her lips to catch every drop. Instead she dipped a battered slice of bell pepper into the restaurant's signature wasabi and closed her eyes against the moment of flame in her sinuses. Wonderful.

"You eat their wasabi? You're a brave woman." Petit blinked at his first mouthful of spicy beef. "This is as hot as I can take. It's delicious, but I'll be eating plain rice and Maalox for dinner." He swallowed. "Every bite is worth it. To continue. For the past eleven months, the police have been, shall we say, less assiduous than I would like in trying to discover the actual killer."

"Did you think they were convinced your client was in fact the murderer?" More wasabi. Giulia breathed through her mouth for a few heartbeats.

"Damn skippy. For my part, I'm convinced my client is innocent." He chased a particularly saucy rib with several gulps of water. "After the usual tests and evidence gathering," he panted slightly from the spices, "my client was indicted for first-degree murder twelve weeks ago."

Giulia finished the last piece of tempura with regret. On any other day, this quirky, charming man might convince her to add another case to DI's two-ton workload. This despite his disparagement of the local police, since she assumed good intentions on his part. He must have done his research and known that Frank's knee rehab and return to the police force as a detective — and transfer of DI to Giulia's control — happened last June first. A smart lawyer like Petit would surely have those facts and would not include Giulia's husband in his blanket condemnation.

Petit must have picked up on her body language, because he shifted tactics. Giulia reminded herself never to underestimate any lawyer ever.

"Here's the thing, Ms. Driscoll. The prosecution's piled up a tower of evidence, and it's pretty convincing. Locked-room mysteries play well on stage and in cozy novels, but in real life twelve random adults are going to make only one equation out of it."

"I can hazard a guess," Giulia said. "One man plus one body in one room minus anyone else around equals the man in the room committed the murder." She finished her water. Restoring her taste buds from wasabi numbness took precedence over this sob-story. Her conscience poked her with vigor. She had eaten at this man's expense without any intention of agreeing to his request.

On second thought, she hadn't. Her wallet had enough cash to cover her own lunch. Her conscience has no grounds for reproach.

"That's exactly the solution they'll come up with." He signaled the waitress. "It's what I want to prevent, but even I see how absurd any other conclusion sounds."

Giulia said as though she hadn't already figured it out, "I don't quite see what you brought me here to ask."

"Coffee and plum wine for me," Petit said to the waitress. "Ms. Driscoll, let me recommend the ginger ice cream. I understand it's won local awards."

Giulia saw no reason to mention she'd eaten their ice cream many times. "Thank you. Green tea also, please," she said to the waitress.

Petit continued, "My client insists he's the only one who can prove his innocence. He knows he's trapped in a clichéd mystery and he has to try everything possible to extricate himself. He says everything includes hiring you."

Giulia frowned. "Hiring DI to do what?"

"To go over everything from before, during, and after the murder to find the real killer. He says that despite the DNA evidence, despite the circumstantial evidence, despite what the police and The Scoop and her relatives and his relatives say, you can pluck justice from the morass he's trapped in."

"Mr. Petit, I can see why juries love you."

His earnest expression didn't crack. "Juries can sense when I believe in the clients I represent. It's that simple, Ms. Driscoll. I believe in Roger Fitch's innocence."

They leaned away from the table to let the busboy clear their dishes and the waitress set out their desserts.

Before Giulia had a chance to reply to Petit's proclamation, he said, "Mr. Fitch has set aside funds to hire you. His assets are frozen but the judge has authorized this particular expenditure." He drank half the small glass of plum wine in a gulp. "I've researched Driscoll Investigations. You have a reputation for championing the underdog."

"Perhaps, but that doesn't mean I'm a pushover." She dipped her spoon in the ice cream. "We're up to our necks in work right now. I'd need a lot of convincing before I commit myself and my staff to more work." Giulia knew she was lying. Petit was already working his way under her skin.

"Convincing?" Petit smiled. "You just said my favorite word. It's —" he pulled out his cell phone and checked the screen — "quarter after one. My office is ten minutes from here if we avoid the construction on East Main. May I take up another hour of your time?"

Giulia did a quick calculation.

"I have a report to fine tune and two appointments starting at two forty-five."

"Challenge accepted. I'll finish what I have to say in less than an hour."

"Deal." She scooped more ice cream, free to enjoy it now. The extra hour would allow the lawyer to give her the full performance and feel that she hadn't dismissed him out of hand.

She took out her phone and typed in an alarm for ten a.m. Confession on Saturday. Nothing short of world destruction would make her skip this week. The number of half-truths she'd spoken in the last hour alone ...

CHAPTER 3

The offices of Creighton, Williams, Ferenc, and Steele commanded half the fifth floor of the newest glass building designed by the town's architects du jour. Giulia once drove by them on a sunny summer day and the afterimages from the tinted glass nearly caused her to rear-end a Hummer. The Nunmobile would've lost that encounter for sure. Today she and Petit went around the back way to avoid any potential glare problems from the angle of the early spring sun.

The lawyer held the building's glass door for her. "Damn architects are going to get sued when someone blames a T-bone accident on their five-story mirror."

Giulia followed him to the elevators. "It's still better than another giant box o' cinderblocks."

The left-hand elevator pinged and they entered.

"Agreed." Petit pushed the button for the fifth floor.

Unlike most elevators Giulia had experienced, this one shot up so fast her stomach took several long seconds to catch up. She regretted lunch for those seconds.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Nun Too Soon"
by .
Copyright © 2014 Alice Loweecey.
Excerpted by permission of Henery Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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NUN TOO SOON 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Believable+characters+with+fast%2C+bang%0Aending.++
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amusing read, not too tsxing on the brain.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
I Will Return to These Characters Soon Every time I go to a mystery convention, there are the books I plan to buy there and then there are the books I wind up buying after meeting the author. One of those from last year’s Malice Domestic was Nun Too Soon by Alice Loweecey. The adventures of a former nun turned PI hadn’t necessarily appealed to me, but after meeting the author I knew I had to give it a try. I’m so glad I had that change of heart because this book is wonderful. Giulia Falcone-Driscoll already has a full plate at Driscoll Investigations when she is offered a case she can’t refuse. It’s two weeks before the Silk Tie Killer goes on trial, and Roger Fitch, the accused, wants Giulia to find the real killer. While the police have a good case against Roger for killing his girlfriend, it is circumstantial, and he claims he was passed out drunk when it happened. Unable to resist an underdog, Giulia begins working on the case. Immediately, she finds others with motive for the killing. But Roger continues to rub her the wrong way, and the local media has already convicted him. Is Roger just a creep? Or is he really the killer? First, a word about the series. Giulia’s first three adventures were published by Midnight Ink, but this is the first one published by Henery Press. When they took over the series, they redubbed it slightly and called this book one. For those (like me usually) who insist on reading a series in order, it is probably worth going back to the real first of Giulia’s adventures. There is backstory that is mentioned but never fully explained and a few relationships that obviously have some backstory as well. However, this is a very minor issue, and it is all on me. Because I fell hard for Giulia and the other series regulars. I love her relationship with her husband, Frank. Then there are her two employees, Zane and Sidney. The relationships these characters have is just so much fun to read about, and their teasing adds a nice layer to this book. Yes, I laughed quite a bit as I was reading along. Of course, the book takes the mystery completely seriously. The plot introduced enough suspects and motives that I was kept off guard until things started to come together at the end. Giulia and I were on the same track as things came to the climax, which was exciting and completely logical. The suspects in this book are definitely shady, and they color this book toward the soft boiled side of things away from the pure cozy of most of the books I read. This includes the nature of the crime and bits of foul language thrown in by Roger especially. They fit the book well and never feel gratuitous, so I am noting them only in passing. As I mentioned, there are a number of suspects, and they are all very sharply drawn. Some have only one scene, yet I had no trouble remembering who they were when Giulia brought them up again later. I had such fun reading Nun Too Soon, and I can’t wait to revisit the characters. Whether you jump in here or backtrack to the first book about Giulia, I highly recommend you meet her.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Nun Too Soon - Guilia Driscoll Mystery Book 1 Author: Alice Lowery Published: 1-13-15 Publisher: Henery Press Pages: 282 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense Sub Genre: Cozy, Women's Fiction, Humorous Mystery, Women Sleuths ISBN: 9781940976655 ASIN: B00OJ9MB2S Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . Guilia Falcone-Driscoll is a no nonsense former nun turned private investigator. She left the order when she felt she could no longer keep her vows. Now married to her former boss, she runs her firm with a touch of an iron fist inside a velvet glove approach. Her eclectic staff bring humor and bit of reality to the story. Guilia was first introduced in Loweecey's Falcone and Driscoll Investigation Series, this book can easily stand on its own. Alice Loweecey's Guilia character reminds me of Sister Mary Paul from eighth grade. Not being Catholic I had imagined them a cross of Mary Poppins and and angel Clarence in It's a Wonderful life. Boy was I wrong. Sister Mary Paul could freeze the blood in your veins at 50 paces, but if you need someone to talk to you became the focal point of her attention. That is one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book so much and look forward to returning often. With defined character and an in intriguing plot Nun Too Soon is a fantastic cozy with enough plot twist to keep your interested. Pick up a copy and you too will be hooked on these delightful characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Every average book. I wouldn't recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
detective agency run by former nun with cast of interesting characters, I especially liked Geranium, good mystery plot with several suspects for the sleuth to investigate including the lawyer for her client. Looking forward to next book.
ToryMichaels More than 1 year ago
Having never read any of Ms. Loweecy's books, I had no expectations other than an amusing story and that's what I got. I was absolutely enchanted by the ex-nun and her agency. Her husband made for a greatly useful tool, and I was utterly charmed by Frank and his ever-scheming-to-woo-Giulia-onto-the-force boss. The plot itself was fantastic and I didn't figure out who did what and why until it was revealed by the investigations of Giulia, which I find a great plus to any mystery book. So, in short, this is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
Great Mystery!! This is a great book! It is the first book in the Giulia Driscoll series by Alice Loweecey. Giulia is a former nun and private investigator and has just been hired by her first client Roger. He hires Alice to prove his innocence because he is being accused of strangling his girlfriend. This book kept me guessing who the killer was until the end. The characters are likable and fun. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.  A Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.