Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder.
Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She’s seen her fair share of crime—and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries.
But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case.
A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he’s been running around with isn’t talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine’s case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve’s crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace.
Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood?
About the Author
Lynne Hinton is the New York Times bestselling author of Friendship Cake and Pie Town. She received an undergraduate degree from UNC Greensboro and a master's of divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. She has served as a hospice chaplain and church pastor. Hinton is a regular columnist with the Charlotte Observer. She lives with her husband in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Hillary Huber is one of the most successful voice talents in Los Angeles. Recent books read for Blackstone Audio include Him, Her, Him Again, the End of Him by Patricia Marx, A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read, and A Map of Glass by Jane Urquhart.
Read an Excerpt
Sister Eve, Private Eye
By Lynne Hinton
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Lynne Hinton
All rights reserved.
"Pssst ..." The sound was a faint whisper and came from the chapel entrance.
Sister Evangeline heard the noise but did not rise from her kneeling position; instead, she simply redoubled her prayers for patience. Breakfast had been served and it was an hour past Lauds. After a quick ride to the town of Glorieta to clear her head, she had returned to the sanctuary for an extended period of scripture reading and meditation meant to aid her spiritual journey. She heard the whisper but remained at the kneeling bench, the narrow beam hard beneath her knees. Candles burned on the altar, and the statue of Mary stood above the nun as she prayed. Saints watched from the stained-glass windows as she closed her eyes and took in a breath. Maybe the whisper was not meant for her, she decided.
She readjusted herself, folded her hands once again, and bowed lower. The pew she was on was empty except for her helmet, which had been placed beside her. Even though she hadn't actually worn it during the ride, she took it with her just to keep the questions and criticisms at bay. She couldn't help herself—she snuck a peek at it just to make sure it was still there. Satisfied that it had not been taken, she drew in a deep breath and began a recitation from the Psalms.
She wanted to be obedient. She tried to be dutiful, and if being able to accomplish such a feat required extra prayers, Sister Evangeline was willing to do it. Lately the well-seasoned nun had confessed to experiencing difficulty remaining patient with other members of her order at Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey and with some of the changes being made at the direction of the Santa Fe diocese, especially the new order that was requiring the nuns to move out. She and Brother Oliver, the vice superior of the monastery that historically housed both monks and nuns, had agreed that additional time of solitude and prayers might aid her with her personal weaknesses, especially her anger. He had meant clocking hours in the chapel, but Evangeline knew that a ride on her Harley calmed and centered her more than sitting in a quiet room. So she decided to do them both. She finished the recitation and began her prayer.
There it was again. She remained bowed. She kept her eyes closed. Maybe someone else was in the chapel, maybe someone was sitting behind her and was being called, she thought. Maybe they would take the cue of her silence and leave quietly. Or maybe whoever was trying to capture her attention would realize Evangeline was in prayer and leave her alone.
"Psssst ... pssst ... pssst."
She rose up and jerked her head around. "What?!" she barked.
Clearly Brother Oliver had been right; she needed divine assistance.
Evangeline shook her head. "I'm sorry," she said as gently as she could to the young novice standing at the door, her pale face peeking through the opening. "Sister Margaret, please, come in, come in." She sat up from the kneeling bench to the pew and waved the young woman inside. She rested her elbows on her knees.
"Sister Divine ..."
"It's Diveen. It's pronounced Diveen, not Divine. And just call me Sister Eve or Sister Evangeline; you don't call us by our last names."
"I'm so sorry. I'm sorry." The novice had been at the monastery only a couple of weeks and was still learning the names of the sisters and the proper ways to address them. She was thin and nervous, and she stood just inside the chapel entrance, her voice so low Evangeline could hardly hear her.
Evangeline blew out a long breath. "It's fine."
There was a long pause as Evangeline waited. Finally she raised her hands, a clear question being asked.
"Oh, right ..." The young woman cleared her throat, remembering her reason for interrupting her elder. "There's someone here to see you." She didn't move any closer.
Likely a guest wanting to talk about the meal schedule or the linens in the room. In her role as manager of Guest Services at the monastery, she handled all the special requests and complaints from those who used the facilities for private retreats or group meetings. Talking over her shoulder, she said, "Take down their name and room number, and I will be with them in an hour." Eve turned and bowed her head once again.
The young nun stood at the door, shifting her weight from side to side, trying to decide what to do. She was breathing fairly loudly.
Sister Evangeline could tell the novice had not left. "Is there anything else?" she asked, without looking up and trying not to sound impatient.
Margaret kept her head down. "It's a policeman, Sister. He said it was an emergency."
"Well, why didn't you say so to begin with?" She stood up, leaving the helmet, and walked to the end of the pew, genuflected, crossed herself, and headed toward the door. "Margaret, you have got to learn to be more assertive about these kinds of things."
"Yes, Sister," she said as the older nun hurried past her.
The police officer stood on the porch outside the main entrance of the monastery. He was tall and wore a dark suit with a badge clipped onto his right front pocket. An investigator, perhaps? He was watching a group of nuns walking down to the river. She opened the door and stepped out, allowing the door to slam hard behind her. The officer, startled, placed his hands securely on the weapons attached to his belt. Sister Eve stood at the door, the hem of her long, gray habit caught in the top of her cowboy boots.
She studied the man, folded her arms across her chest, and said, "I will not talk to you without an attorney present."CHAPTER 2
"Well, if you aren't going to talk, then I guess I'll just have to arrest you and take you downtown," the officer replied, maintaining his stance.
There was a pause and then big smiles from them both.
"Daniel," Eve responded, hurrying in his direction and giving him a big hug. "It is so good to see you!" She pulled away and looked up at her father's oldest friend and former partner.
"Did you finally see the error of your ways and come to make your confession?" She punched the man in the arm. "I hope you packed to stay overnight."
He was still grinning. "Ah, little Sister, maybe I'm here because of all those speeding tickets you seem to forget to pay."
She rolled her eyes. "There has only been one speeding ticket in this calendar year, and I know for a fact the monastery paid it."
"Oh, so now who has to spend all day in confession?" He grinned. "And it's still early in the year."
"You still got your pets?" he asked, looking around.
"Not so many," she answered. "They told me I could only keep four." She signaled to the building behind her, inferring the powers that be at the convent. "They claim I'm trying to turn the monastery into an animal shelter."
"Well, are you?" he asked.
She shrugged. "Maybe."
"They still going to make you move?" The news had been in the local papers. Everyone knew about the changes being called for at the monastery. Eve had been quoted in the stories and had gotten into trouble for speaking to the press.
She only nodded.
"You go out riding?"
"You wear your helmet?" He looked in the direction of where her bike was parked.
She cleared her throat and turned away, remembering that she had left her helmet on the pew in the chapel. "The sisters bought me a new one," she answered. "They gave it to me at Christmas."
An old dog walked up and she bent down to greet it.
"That's not what I asked."
She could feel his stare. She stood up and the dog sat at her feet. "Last I heard, New Mexico doesn't require helmets." She dusted off her hands on the front of her habit.
"Just because there's no law against riding without a helmet doesn't mean you shouldn't use common sense. God don't honor foolishness."
Eve laughed. "You're starting to sound like him," she said.
"He's right about some things." He glanced around the monastery. "They get the new building started?"
She looked over at the planned building site for the new living quarters. The fact that the women were being kicked out and not able to have a say in where they went was only part of the reason she was angry about the changes. She thought separating the monks from the nuns and building new housing was ridiculous. She also thought it made more sense to build a kennel for the stray animals than a new housing area for the nuns. It wasn't like they said—she didn't want to change the monastery into an animal shelter, but she had been pushing for a facility for stray animals for years. With the new changes pushing the nuns out, she had finally been told to leave the matter of a kennel alone. She shook away the thoughts.
"Still working on it," she answered. She turned back to the officer. "Where are my manners? Won't you come in for a cup of tea?" She took him by the arm, leading him to the steps.
He stopped her. "Actually, this isn't exactly a social call, Evangeline. I came because I need to talk to you about something."
She dropped his arm and turned to him.
He looked back to the car he was driving. There was someone sitting in the backseat.
"It's the Captain," he responded. "Your dad," he added, even though he was sure Eve knew who the Captain was.
Evangeline looked back at the officer, forgetting about his passenger.
"He's at the hospital. He has to have surgery."
"What kind of surgery?" Eve asked. She slid a piece of hair underneath the white veil she wore covering her head.
"It's his leg," Daniel replied. "They have to amputate it."
"Amputate it? I just talked to him last week, and he said the toe was getting better."
Captain Jackson Divine had been a brittle diabetic for a long time, but in the last year he had battled infections in his lower extremities, including the most recent one involving his big toe.
Daniel shook his head. "After four rounds of antibiotics, it didn't go away. The infection was spreading faster than they could manage. The doctors told him there was no other choice. It has to come off." He waited. "The foot and part of the leg."
Eve made the sign of the cross and closed her eyes. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. "I never thought it would progress this quickly," she noted and paused. "Wait, how long have you known the infection was this bad?"
Daniel cleared his throat, uncomfortable with the question. He had been friends with Captain Divine for more than thirty years. He had watched Eve and her sister, Dorisanne, grow up. He was aware that the man had ongoing issues of privacy and pride. He shook his head. This was not easy news for him to report.
Eve could see his discomfort and waved off the question. "Never mind, it doesn't matter. It's not your fault that he doesn't tell me anything. This is just like him, waiting until the last minute and then making you drive out here to break the news."
A car pulled up and parked in the lot next to the front entrance. The two of them turned and watched as a couple got out and headed in the direction of the chapel. Eve assumed they had an appointment with one of the monks. She had heard about a couple who were planning to have their wedding held in the chapel later in the spring.
"I came to take you to the hospital," Daniel explained. "The surgery is this afternoon."
"This afternoon? Today?" Eve sighed. "Did you call Dorisanne?"
He shook his head. "I don't have her new number."
Eve nodded. She wasn't even sure she had a correct number to reach her little sister. Dorisanne was known to change residences and contact information on a fairly regular basis.
"She's still in Vegas. I'll try the number I have before we leave." She looked again over at her bike parked near the main building. She reached out, squeezing the man on the arm. "Daniel, it was really nice of you to come and tell me the news, but I need to take care of a few things before I go. I'd rather drive myself to St. Vincent's," she said, knowing that she needed to talk to her superiors about her situation.
"I'd feel better if I drove you," Daniel responded. "I have some phone calls to make, so don't hurry. I'll just wait in the car until you're ready."
And that's when Evangeline finally remembered the person she had seen in the backseat of Daniel's car. She peered over in that direction.
"You stop on the way and make an arrest?" she asked, trying to get a better view.
It appeared to be a woman, but Eve wasn't sure. All she could see was a large, dark hat. Either the person was small or was sitting slumped in the seat. Her face was down, and the hat kept Eve from getting a good look.
Daniel glanced at the car. "Oh, no, she's not a perp. She's your father's client."
Eve was confused. "His client? Well, who is it?"
Daniel fidgeted, shifting his weight from side to side.
"Are you blushing?" Eve asked. "You are! But why? Who is it?" she asked again and strained to get a better look.
Daniel cleared his throat. "The Captain was working on a missing person's case when the doctor gave him the news." He motioned in the direction of the car. "She was with him in the emergency room when he called me. When I got there, she asked to come with me to tell you."
Eve shielded her eyes from the late-morning sun. Suddenly, as if the unknown passenger had been beckoned, the door opened and out stepped a pair of slender, tan legs, bearing the weight of the most glamorous young woman the nun had ever seen. There was a perfect smile radiating from the perfect face beneath the large, fashionable hat.
"You must be Sister Evangeline," the woman said as she walked up to Eve and stuck out her small, well-manicured hand. Eve looked over at Daniel, who dropped his eyes and backed away.
"I have heard everything about you. I am Megan Flint. Your father is—how shall I put this?" She glanced at Daniel. "He's very dear to me."CHAPTER 3
"I'm sorry," Eve responded, not offering her hand. "Do we know each other?" She looked at the young woman and then at Daniel, who was not answering.
"I'm Megan Flint," she repeated, saying the name as if she thought the nun should recognize it.
Eve gave no response.
The lack of recognition seemed to come as a surprise. She shook her head as if to say never mind. "Your father was trying to find my fiancé," she noted, stepping back a bit, giving Eve a little more room. "He's been missing a week, and I'm sick with worry."
Eve watched the young woman. "Are you from Santa Fe?"
"Los Angeles," she answered. "And my fiancé has been in Madrid. That's how I met your father."
Eve nodded. "And you were with him in the emergency room at the hospital because ...?"
"Oh, I had my driver take Captain Divine to the hospital once the nurse at the clinic in Cerrillos informed us he needed to go right away."
Eve still didn't respond. She was trying to put the facts together.
Daniel moved forward to help fill in the blanks. "Megan hired the Captain when her boyfriend didn't show up in Los Angeles last week. His name is Charles Cheston." He waited as if Eve would recognize that name. When she didn't, he continued, "He's a famous movie director." He paused. "The Sound of a Trombone? Saved from Drowning?"
Eve thought these were the names of movies but she wasn't sure, so she shrugged.
"You never saw The Sound of a Trombone?" Daniel sounded very surprised.
"I'm a nun, Daniel. We don't have a lot of time for the cinema."
"Yeah, but you used to love movies," he noted. He looked at the entrance of the monastery. "You can't go to a movie?" he asked.
Eve rolled her eyes. "Why were you with him at the clinic?" she asked the young woman again.
Megan seemed confused. "Chaz wasn't at the clinic." She stopped. "He's not sick."
Eve turned to Daniel, hoping he could help out his passenger.
"Oh, you mean your father!" The young woman finally seemed to catch on.
"I had an appointment with him at his office this morning. We were to go over his recent findings. There's a man in Madrid who apparently knows Chaz. Your father thought he might have some answers about his whereabouts. Anyway, when I arrived, Jack was coming out the door and said he needed to go to the clinic. He seemed a little unsteady so I told him that Matthew, that's my driver, would take him and that we could just have our meeting on the drive over and back." She glanced at Daniel, explaining, "I thought it was just a checkup or something."
"But after the nurse examined him, she informed him that he had to go to the hospital. She wanted to call an ambulance, but I told her I would drive him to Santa Fe." She shrugged. "So that's what I did."
Excerpted from Sister Eve, Private Eye by Lynne Hinton. Copyright © 2014 Lynne Hinton. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is my first book by Lynne Hinton but I do not think it will be my last. This is a fun and suspenseful read. I love the humor in the book. I was very intrigued by the title as I wondered about a private eye who was a nun. I don't usually think of those two career paths careening. The book also handles some difficulties in the family relationships for Sister Eve. As readers may deduce from the title, Sister Eve is no ordinary nun. She is quite unusual in many ways. I pride myself on being fairly accurate in figuring out the mysteries of books but I did not figure this one out until it was revealed in the text. I always enjoy being surprised by authors and characters. I rate this book 5 stars and am happy to recommend it to readers. I received a copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Lynne Hinton in her new book, “Sister Eve, Private Eye” Book One in the Divine Private Detective Agency series published by Thomas Nelson introduces us to Sister Eve. From the back cover: Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder. Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She’s seen her fair share of crime—and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries. But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case. A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he’s been running around with isn’t talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine’s case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve’s crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace. Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood? For me there is something special about the mysteries where the investigator is a priest or a nun. Maybe it is their connection to God that gives them a unique approach to a murder investigation. Meet Sister Eve or Sister Evangeline Divine. She has all kinds of issues which are only hinted at in this story and gives us a lot to look forward to in future stories. She has come home to take care of her injured Private Investigator father and mend relationships. Already, not an easy task. But Sister Eve is going to pick up the investigation where her father left off. Now get ready for a page-turner. I do not believe you will figure out who the killer actually is but you won’t feel badly about that as the adventure is exciting enough. “Sister Eve, Private Eye” is a mystery that will keep you flipping pages well into the night because you will keep telling yourself just one page more, it is that good. Lynne Hinton has brought in a winner with her new book. Already I am looking forward to the next mystery in this series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
OK but not great. The story was more about the relationship between father and daughters rather than the mystery itself. The murder happens in the beginning but then seems to get lost as the relationship plot takes over. The whole mystery aspect just seems lack-luster. Enjoyed the story about father and daughter and sister Eve's struggle regarding continuation in the religious life. That alone would have been a better book. Agree with the reviewer who stated that the religious aspects seemed off. Have never heard of monks and nuns co-habitating. I hope the second book in the series is better.
Don't bother. There is nothing compelling in this story. The mystery element is hardly even dealt with. The main character is not at all likable. She complains about her father's treatment of her but he is a much more sympathetic character. When the murderer is revealed, it was a character I didn't even remember.
I hope these 3 novels aren't the last about Sister Eve. I can't wait for the next one.
Sister Eve is a 40 something nun in the American Southwest who prefers a Harley and boots to her habit. Her lifestyle is in the process of change, and she is not coping very well. Then comes word that she must return home immediately to give support to her ex-cop/private investigator father who is a mite testy on a good day. Her sister took care of her mother in the days between diagnosis and death from cancer, so now it is Eve's turn. He has just been engaged by a client on a missing person case, and it soon turns into murder and more. The suspense and plot twist in the investigation and beyond are well plotted and keep the reader engaged to the end. But I am a nurse, and I am very pleased to tell you that the dramatics relating to the nearly emergency amputation of a lower leg as a complication of Diabetes, the turmoil and grief following this, and the reactions to adapting to an artificial limb are spot on! Come for the mystery, and leave with a valuable learning experience. Hillary gives a worthy performance, and provides sincere voice interpretations which certainly enhance the written word.
This book is an easy read. The story has a good development between Sister Eve, a nun and her dad, a detective. Sister Eve is called home to help her dad, who is ill. She becomes involved with his murder case. She likes hunting down clues. Should she go back to the convent or help solve the crime?
I enjoyed this book for the entertainment throughout the book. It held my interest throughout the book on different levels. Enjoyed the setting in New Mexico because her descriptions are so vivid and true to life.
This title is more like nancy drew. Frankly it was boring her religious quirks were rather "off" as to how she supported her motorcycle and outside life style also about family second mortgage and cost of meds and him not in v a hospital. there is no humor in this and as a detective she isnt. Monks have been know to raise dogs make fruitcake wine do art work lace and sewing to raise money. Our local monks had a computer ink cartlige business and trained horses. Also a brother would not be in charge of the nuns. And the sisters here are on line and take prayers on line for dogs too but they are frascians more likelycan become an angelican priest and detective