Friday, April 27, 2018

Nun After the Other (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery #5)

Author:  Alice Loweecey
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635113297; 9781635113266
Henery Press Publishing
298 Pages
$30.76; $15.95; $4.99 Amazon
April 11, 2018

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Nuns and murder and ghosts, oh my!  Here comes Giulia Driscoll again, and boy, is she in for it this time.  It all starts when a frenzied Chihuahua leads Giulia and Frank Driscoll to the body of a nun in the street near a convent.  The nuns fear they're being harassed by the biggest developer in town and quickly embrace Giulia as their savior.  Of course, the former nun who exposed the drug ring run by a priest and nun will save their home and discover the murderer.  And of course, Giulia not only takes this job, but also all the other jobs clamoring for her attention.  The result:  Driscoll investigations is pushed to its limit.  Then Giulia's brother falls into a coma and she brings his kids to her house.  Talk about a crash course in parenting for pregnant Giulia!

Did we mention convent ghost?  She loves the house, hates the nuns, and chain-smokes.  Why couldn't Giulia's first honest-to-goodness ghost be shy and sweet?  More important, does the ghost hate the nuns - or the developer - enough to indulge in a bit of murder to liven up the afterlife?

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Giulia Driscoll is an ex-nun private investigator, and her husband Frank is a police detective.  One evening on date night they hear a scream and follow it, only to discover a dead nun on the ground, with a barking Chihuahua licking her face and hand.  After they call the police, they corner the dog and allow him to lead them to her home nearby.  What Giulia finds is a house full of nuns, and that the dead woman was Sister Matilda.  She also finds that they're being forced out of their home by a developer who wants to tear it down and renovate the area.

She also discovers that they've all heard of her past deeds and want to hire her to find out who's been vandalizing their home and has (probably) caused Matilda's death; and act as their advocate with Eagle Development.  Giulia agrees to take the case, but letting them know that she won't interfere in the police investigation of the death.

When Giulia starts her probe she discovers that Victor Eagle has bought up many homes in run down areas and turned them into modern housing. It's also apparent that only the nuns and a small coffee house are the holdouts, and the coffee house is on the verge of folding.  But if the nuns lose their home, they'll be split up and will have less than they have now.  While Giulia is advocating for more money, she discovers another secret the house holds.

Giulia encounters the ghost of the original inhabitant - a Gibson Girl who refuses to leave, and hates the nuns.  She designed the house and considers it hers; and it doesn't help when a dead body is discovered in the basement and only furthers the nuns' impression that Eagle is willing to do anything to get them to leave - even if it means burning them out.

It also doesn't help that her brother Salvatore - who hates her for leaving the convent - has fallen into a coma and she must temporarily care for his children until their mother Anne is able to take them home; Anne and Salvatore have been separated and he has refused her contact.  But Giulia decides she'll worry about it when - or if - he wakes up.

With everything going on in her life, including her pregnancy, Giulia has more than enough on her plate, and will need any help she can get, even if it comes from the psychics across the street who know how to deal with belligerent ghosts...

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book.  Giulia is one intelligent woman, she's brave and has  plenty of self-assurance and she doesn't fold easily.  She basically can handle everything life can throw at her and come out ahead of the game.  Even when suddenly thrown in adverse situations - as in a ghost appearing in front of her - Giulia manages to keep calm throughout the encounter.

I loved the ghost aspect of the story; it fit in perfectly and even helped Giulia somewhat along the way (by things she said).  It was an interesting twist, along with the secondary story line of the elderly nun and, of all people, The Scoop's cameraman, Pit Bull.  I liked the background we received on him; it made him more human and more of a likable person.

Ms. Loweecey manages to give us characters who are vivid and convincing; she is a skilled writer who can bring one into a compelling story and keep one's interest throughout.  When the end finally comes, everything is pulled together nicely, giving us a satisfying conclusion.  I look forward to the next in the series.  Highly recommended.

https://smile.amazon.com/After-Other-Giulia-Driscoll-Mystery/dp/1635113261/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2374749766

More on Alice Loweecey's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/l/alice-loweecey/

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