Read Nun But The Brave (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery Book 3) Online

Authors: Alice Loweecey

Tags: #british cozy mystery, #ghost novels, #paranormal mystery, #Women Sleuths, #ghosthunter, #Ghost stories, #cozy mystery, #amateur sleuth, #private invesstigators

Nun But The Brave (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery Book 3)

BOOK: Nun But The Brave (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery Book 3)
8.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Praise for the Giulia Driscoll Mystery Series




“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
Young Frankenstein
? 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




“Exciting and suspenseful.”

Publishers Weekly


“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.”

Suspense Magazine


“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








(May 2017)


Short Stories



(prequel to NUN TOO SOON)

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A Giulia Driscoll Mystery

Part of the Henery Press Mystery Collection


First Edition | July 2016


Henery Press


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 © 2016 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.


Trade Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-63511-049-4

Digital epub ISBN-13: 978-1-63511-050-0

Kindle ISBN-13: 978-1-63511-051-7

Hardcover Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-63511-052-4


Printed in the United States of America



To my ever patient and always supportive husband Phil.



Huge thank-yous go out to: Rachel Jackson, my indefatigable and eagle-eyed editor. Caleb Joshua Malcolm, wildcrafter extraordinaire, without whom Giulia’s cover would have been blown in about half a page. Foinah Jameson, crafter of gorgeous drinking horns and epic costumes: You plant wild images in my literary head. Barbara Early, whose conversation during all our drives to book events clarified essential plot points. She is also the Finder of Awesome Local Restaurants where Giulia sometimes eats. And my fellow Hens, whose support and encouragement is invaluable.



Giulia Driscoll led a sobbing grandmother to Driscoll Investigations’ entrance door.

“My whole family will say a novena to Saint Anthony in gratitude for how quickly you found my granddaughter.”

Giulia handed her another tissue. “Thank you.”

“My son says he’s not Catholic anymore, but I’ll threaten him with no more of my canned ginger pears. He’ll do anything for those.”

She honked into the tissue and kissed Giulia’s cheeks. Giulia waited for the sound of the downstairs door squeaking shut before she closed the frosted glass door.

“I don’t know what she doused herself with, but my room needs a whole can of Febreze.”

Giulia’s all-natural, earth mother assistant Sidney wrinkled her nose. “White Shoulders. When I was a kid, I swore my great-aunt took baths in it.”

“My grandfather used Old Spice. A lot of it.” Zane, Giulia’s tow-haired bodybuilder admin, got his “genius at work” expression. “I should create a statistical analysis correlating the age of older adults with fragrance saturation levels.”

Giulia returned to her own office and brought out a red flash drive. “But you really want to use your MIT brain on this research.”

The door opened and a tall woman in jeans and a stained brown t-shirt stumbled over the threshold.

“I miss my kids,” she slurred. “I can’t live without my kids.” She staggered forward and fell onto Giulia. “You have to get me back to my kids.”

The last word dribbled out of her mouth as her entire weight slumped onto Giulia’s shoulders.

Giulia clasped her hands around the unconscious woman’s back. “Zane, help?”

He scrambled out from behind his desk and eased the woman onto the floor. “Dead weight is not a cliché.”

Sidney squatted next to the woman’s head. “She overdid something herbal and smoky.” She waved her hand in front of her nose.

Giulia opened the woman’s eyes. “Her eyes are dilated. How’s her pulse?”

Zane placed three fingers on the scrawny throat at the carotid artery. “Too fast.”

Giulia picked up the phone on Zane’s desk and called 911. “We have an unconscious adult at Driscoll Investigations.” She gave the address and the few details she possessed and hung up. “They’ll be here in five minutes.”

She knelt next to Sidney and felt the unconscious woman’s forehead with the back of her hand.

“Do you know her?” Sidney said.

“She’s my sister-in-law.”



“Her name is Anne Falcone,” Giulia said to the EMTs six minutes later.

“Any idea what she’s on?” The ponytailed EMT strapped a blood pressure cuff around Anne’s flaccid arm.

“Not a clue. She opened the door, fell on top of me, and passed out.”

The bald EMT said, “Bloodshot eyes; pupils big as dinner plates.”

“BP one fifty over ninety-nine.” She loosened the cuff and put it away.

Giulia stayed out of their way. “Will she be all right?”

“It’s possible.” The EMT’s ponytail swung back and forth as she clipped an oxygen meter on Anne Falcone’s left index finger. “Depends on how long she’s been taking whatever she’s taking, her overall health, her mental state, whether what she’s on has been cut with something she’s allergic to. Lots of factors.”

Anne gasped, sat up like her spine was on springs, and vomited all over her baggy jeans.

A voice said from the doorway, “Excuse me. I have a ten-thirty appointment.”

Everyone not vomiting looked up.

The youngish woman’s tri-color hair managed not to clash with her fluorescent orange peasant blouse, her brown pencil skirt or her strappy gladiator sandals.

A beat, and Sidney ran into the bathroom for paper towels. The patient collapsed onto the floor again. Ponytail EMT swept her index finger through Anne’s slack mouth to clear the remaining vomit. Giulia stepped over the tableau on the floor, hand out.

“Good morning, Ms. Philbey. I’m Giulia Driscoll. As you can see, we had an unexpected visitor. If you wouldn’t mind waiting in my office for a few minutes?” She escorted the new client into her private space and closed the door.

The bald EMT extended the collapsible frame on the gurney. “At least her throat’s open. That means it’s not an allergic reaction. Probably a simple OD. She’ll need detox and maybe rehab. You said she came here for help, so she’s got a good start.”

The stench of whatever used to be in Anne’s stomach sent Giulia into the bathroom again for the Febreze. “I know you only trick the nose into thinking the smell is gone,” she apostrophized the spray can, “but please trick us.” She knew her humor wasn’t appropriate for the situation, but she needed something to distract herself from the sight of her sister-in-law in what looked like the penultimate stage of meth addiction.

Ponytail EMT strapped Anne’s ankles, hips, and shoulders to the gurney. Sidney finished cleaning the splatters on the floor. Zane disappeared into the bathroom. New retching sounds followed.

The bald EMT said to Giulia, “We’re heading to Vandermark’s ER. Are you riding along?”

“No.” There was no way she could explain her bizarre family situation in less than twenty minutes. Besides, she had a client waiting. “I’ll call my brother. He’ll meet you there.” She hoped.

“Sounds good.”

They maneuvered the gurney down the narrow stairs with only a few clanks and bangs. Giulia opened her office door and said to the client, “One more minute, please,” before closing it again.

She took out her cell, but returned it to her pocket without unlocking it. At Sidney’s quizzical expression, Giulia said, “I don’t want my brother to have my new cell number,” and picked up Zane’s desk phone.

Her brother’s phone number came back to her after a moment of mental archaeology. If he hadn’t changed it, this should be an interesting conversation.

He answered on the fourth ring.

“Salvatore, it’s Giulia. Don’t hang up. Anne came into my office a few minutes ago. She’s very ill. We called for an ambulance and she’s on her way to Vandermark Memorial.”

A click and a dial tone.

Giulia glared at the receiver, justified in her choice of an office phone to make the call. Most certainly she didn’t need a rerun of her first year out of the convent, when her brother called her every Sunday after Tridentine Mass. Something about Latin inspired him to damn her to Hell in the best Jonathan Edwards tradition. Even this minimal contact roused several Italian and Irish curses in her head, but she refused to let any of them touch her tongue. A few deep breaths later she replaced the phone in its cradle.

Sidney said, “It’s not nice of me, but when she draped herself over you, you both looked exactly like Elsa and Anna in the climactic scene from
.” She poked her phone. “I’ll show you.”

play that song,” Giulia and Zane said together.

The tinkling opening bars of “Let it Go” played from the phone’s speaker before Sidney hit Stop.

“That earworm will be stuck in my head all day,” Giulia said.

“At least it made you smile.”

“When did you become so devious?”

Without waiting for an answer, Giulia walked into her office. The client put her smart phone into her small cross-body bag and slapped a printout on Giulia’s desk.

“Are you as good as your reviews?”

Giulia must have missed the memo about today being “startle the PI day.” She picked up the paper, used to clients who tried to throw her off-stride as a test of sorts.

This test started with a screencap of Driscoll Investigations’ reviews on Yelp. All anonymous, but she knew exactly who’d written each of the fourteen excerpts squeezed onto the paper:

“Saved my life.”

“Restored my family.”

“Repaired my reputation.”

“Found my daughter.”

Five more of the latter, substituting “biological mother/father/twin/sister/brother.”

“Compassionate yet tenacious.”

“A bulldog in human form.”

Giulia remembered the “bulldog” case well. DI had more than earned its fee that month.

If prison officials would ever let an inmate post to Yelp, she wondered what The Silk Tie Killer’s review would do to her overall rating.

She raised her eyes. “We strive to bring all our cases to a satisfactory conclusion.”

Ms. Philbey’s light brown eyebrows expressed an unflattering opinion of Giulia’s answer. “Come on. That was bland. These reviews were written about someone daring with guts.”

Giulia set the paper on her desk. “How can Driscoll Investigations help you, Ms. Philbey?”

A minuscule one-shoulder shrug. “I’m here and you have the best reviews of the local detective agencies, so what the hell.” She unzipped her narrow purse and set a four-by-six photo on top of the printout. “This is my twin sister, Joanne. Before you ask, yes, we’re identical.”

The photo showed two women lit from beneath by the candles on an elaborate birthday cake. On the left, the client’s brown hair was streaked with only blonde highlights and her skintight tie-dyed shirt was austere compared to today’s outfit. Green glitter eye shadow and peacock feather earrings overpowered her hazel eyes and thin lips.

Her twin’s baggy gray sweater didn’t hide the difference in their figures. She carried at least fifty pounds more than her sister. Where the twin at Giulia’s desk combated the bland on multiple levels, her sister either didn’t care or had given in to it. Her light brown hair fell straight to her shoulders, free of embellishment. She wore little makeup and no jewelry. Her shoulders slumped, but her smile was genuine.

“Joanne made that cake for our twenty-fifth birthday, two years ago.”

“Where can I sign up to take lessons from her?” Giulia said.

The bottom layer of the cake was decorated to look like the redwood base of an above-ground pool. The top layer framed pool-blue frosting with two marzipan figures on it. On the “water,” a girl in a bikini lounged on a float made of gummy worms. On the “redwood” deck, another figure in shorts and a shirt played with a cat.

“I’m not joking,” Giulia said. “Your sister is talented.”

“She’s also been missing for three months.”

BOOK: Nun But The Brave (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery Book 3)
8.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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