Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Second to Nun (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery #2)

Author:  Alice Loweecey
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Paperback; E-Book
ISBN #:  9781941962961; 9781941962930
Henery Press Publishing
270 Pages
$31.95; $15.95; $2.99 Kindle
September 22, 2015
Five Stars

The Other Side has hired Driscoll Investigations.  The owner of Stone's Throw Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast insists that a tarot reading told her to hire Giulia to evict the family ghost.  Since the ghost is cutting gas lines and flooding cellars, Giulia and her husband frank head to the B&B to discover the real perpetrator.

The client also has a family legend:  A highwayman stole a pile of gold.  Giulia has a pile of suspects, including a psychic the client hired to conduct weekly seances.  So much for romance with Frank at this getaway.

Instead, Giulia's juggling arson, creepy clown dolls, and the psychic going all Exorcist on her.  Then the ghost tries to push the client off the lighthouse and throw Giulia down three flights of stairs.  It should've known better than to mess with an ex-nun.  Giulia has connections and she's about to use them.

********

Giulia Driscoll, private investigator, is in her office one morning when a woman rushes in and demands that she go with her across the street to see a psychic.  Acquiescing, she discovers that the psychic, Rowan, has decreed her the 'veiled woman' and that she needs to help MacAllister 'Mac' Stone, the woman who came to her office.  Mac runs a B&B called Stone's Throw, which is a renovated lighthouse, and it seems she has a haunting - a resident ghost - and she needs Giulia to help her get rid of it.  Showing Guilia pictures of strange goings-on, she convinces her to find out the truth of what is happening.  Although she doesn't believe it's a ghost, she agrees to help, and she and her husband Frank, a homicide detective, go to Stone's Throw posing as guests until Giulia can figure out what - or who - is doing their best to see that the business fails.

When Giulia arrives - sans Frank, who has a last-minute case to wrap up before he can join her - she meets a colorful array of guests, all who have been there before and can't say enough good things.  She attends an evening on the beach, with everyone making s'mores, but then sometime later there is a scream and it is discovered that someone has set that same area on fire.  So Giulia decides that Mac's fears are real, insofar as someone is attempting to put her out of business, but still skeptical of that someone being a ghost.

Eventually the 'accidents' escalate, and between her and Frank investigating on the sly, Giulia has no dearth of suspects.  Everyone at the B&B is on her list, along with Mac's nephew, Walter, who runs a boat rental on the beach, and Lucy, the housekeeper.  In fact, the only one she's scratched off the list is the handyman who has to keep repairing the damage the 'ghost' is doing.

In between snippets of a little personal time for themselves, they know they're only pretending to be actual guests, and so to this end manage to surreptitiously question the others while maintaining a low profile that won't cause the others to question them to any great extent.  Although what Giulia finds out is interesting, not a lot of it appears to be dangerous, which makes it more difficult for her.

Add to this the crazy as a loon local psychic, Solana, that Mac has hired to entertain her guests, and the psychic's husband, Cedar, and and Giulia has her hands full.  Especially since the psychic is also referring to Giulia as the 'veiled woman' (a reference to Giulia's former days as a nun) which only serves to aggravate Giulia even more.

When there is an attempt on Mac's life, Giulia knows she must step up her game and step in quickly to find a potential killer still on the loose.

I really loved this book, and can't say enough good things about it.  Giulia is an ex-nun-turned-investigator, and has seen it all.  She's barely finishing a cheating husband case (and not very pleasant for her, but necessary just the same) when Mac rushes in demanding her help.  So off she and Frank go to the B&B, doing their best to seem like a couple on a romantic getaway while trying to figure out what is going on and who is attempting to put Mac out of business.

But find out she does, and watching her put the pieces together is great fun.  I love books that make me think, right along with the protagonist, and this book does exactly that.  It's not an easy read, there is a slight otherworldly feel to it - due in part to the resident haunting - but Giulia gets the answers she's looking for, and therefore, so do we.  When the end comes and the answers are revealed, it's almost sad to close the book.

To this end, Ms. Loweecey has given us another Giulia Driscoll mystery that's a worthy successor to the last, and I hope to see many more in the future.  Highly recommended.



                                        

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