A former nun reenters the convent to investigate a suicide.
Sister Fabian, the Superior General of the Sisters of St. Francis, reluctantly appeals to former nun Giulia Falcone, now employed as a private eye by Frank Driscoll’s agency, to prove that Sister Bridget didn’t die of foul play. Resuming her ecclesiastic name, Sister Mary Regina Coelis, Giulia dons habit and veil and reenters the Motherhouse, charged with rubber-stamping Sister Fabian’s verdict of suicide. Along the way Giulia discovers that one nun is a drunk, another cuts herself, the dead sister may have had an addiction to drugs and a visiting Swedish nun has something important to confide—something no one can translate now that Sister Bridget has passed. There’s a suspicious clanging in the cellar pipes, lots of irreverent gossip among the nuns and a strong suspicion that the community confessor, Father Ray, and Sister Fabian may be supplementing the Motherhouse’s coffers by blackmailing novices into acting as drug couriers and sex playmates. Giulia races through the rosary, is late to Mass, bypasses curfew and smuggles in a cell phone so that she can text clues to Frank. A pipe bomb tossed by the least likely suspect winds matters up, leaving Giulia free to discard her habit and smooch with Frank.
Giulia (Force of Habit, 2011) moves a few steps closer from bride of Christ to bride of Frank. Not for those who hold nuns or careful plotting in high esteem.