Read Hit and Nun Online

Authors: Peg Cochran

Tags: #amateur sleuth, #Female sleuth, #Italian, #Mystery, #Cozy, #church, #New Jersey, #pizza

Hit and Nun

Hit and Nun



The hilarious Lucille Mazzarella is back, and this time she’s investigating a murder linked to her favorite pizzeria. When the fifty-something housewife goes undercover at a restaurant to solve the case, she quickly learns that if the killer doesn’t get her, the calories will.


When the owner of Lucille’s favorite pizzeria drops dead at her feet, she’s left wondering who could have harmed such a kind man—and wondering where she’ll get her favorite food now. Deciding to go undercover as a pizza maker to sniff out the clues—and maybe an extra slice or two—Lucille’s determined to track down the culprit before they can strike again.


As the hunt for the killer heats up, Lucille and her friend Flo dig deeper into the crime and discover a jealous wife, a competitive pizza man who would kill for more business, and a decades-old mystery that may hold the key to the murder. Trouble is, the one person who could break the case wide open is a nun who took a vow of silence—and she’s not talking.

Beyond the Page Books

are published by

Beyond the Page Publishing


Copyright © 2015 by Peg Cochran

Material excerpted from
Iced to Death
copyright © 2014 by Peg Cochran

Cover design and illustration by Dar Albert, Wicked Smart Designs


ISBN: 978-1-940846-43-9


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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Excerpt from
Iced to Death

Books by Peg Cochran

About the Author

Chapter 1

Lucille lifted the lid on the saucepan and sniffed. She wrinkled her nose. It smelled funny. Kind of like the girls’ locker room over at the high school after eighth-period gym back when you got all sweaty chasing some ball around but you wouldn’t get undressed in front of everyone to take a shower. Girls wouldn’t even take off them full slips they used to wear but would tuck them into their gym suits instead.

Bernadette had been going on at her about trying something new for Sunday dinner. Apparently Lucille didn’t know it but she was in some kind of rut and Bernadette had taken it upon herself to get Lucille out of it. Well, this here dish was real new. Lucille glanced at the recipe she’d propped against the bread box. It was called curried chicken on account of the fact that it had curry powder in it. She’d had to make a special trip to the A&P to get the curry—it wasn’t the kind of spice you’d find in your typical Italian household.

Lucille didn’t know what was wrong with making the same things every Sunday—stuffed shells, pasta with meat sauce, lasagna—it was what everyone liked. Just like the cannoli they always had for dessert. She didn’t hear no complaints about Flo bringing those every week. Bernadette wasn’t getting after
to try something new.

Lucille had protested, but Bernadette had a way of wearing her down and finally she’d given in. So she was making this here curry dish for Sunday dinner. Just wait till the family got a load of this.

She heard the front door open.

“Yo, Lucille.”

Lucille scurried into the foyer. “Sssssh, Bernadette and the baby are napping.”

“Oh,” Flo mouthed silently, following Lucille into the kitchen on tiptoe. She sniffed and wrinkled her nose. “What’s that you’re making? I thought this was your week to do shells.” She put the white pastry box she was carrying down on the table.

“I was, but Bernadette told me I was in a rut and I had to get out of it. So this here’s chicken curry I’m making. It’s got some fancy name in Indian but I forget what it is.” She lifted the lid on the saucepan.

Flo leaned over the stove and sniffed again. She made a face. “Smells like the girls’ locker room after gym class.”

“Yeah, that’s what I thought, too, but Bernadette told me it’s real good.”

Flo shrugged.

“So is Richie coming on his own?” Lucille asked as she put the lid back on the pot.

“No.” Flo began to examine her fingernails closely.

“No, he’s not coming? But I thought he was coming. On account of you two have been going out for a couple of months now, which is why I told you to invite him and all.”

Flo sighed. “I know. But bringing him to Sunday dinner is a huge commitment.”

“What commitment? He spends a couple hours with the family. So what? That makes him committed?”

“That makes
committed,” Flo said. “And I’m not ready yet.”

“What are you waiting for? You ain’t getting no younger, you know.”

“What is it with you and age?” Flo scowled. “We’re not that old.”

“We’re grandmothers for chrissake.”

“So? Loretta Lynn became a grandmother at the age of twenty-nine.”

“But we’re not twenty-nine. We’re in our fifties now, Flo. You gotta be realistic. How many single men are there left? At least Richie still has his looks. And a good job with a pension. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life alone, do you?” Lucille frowned. “You’re not still holding out for that doctor you work with, are you?”

Flo turned away and began flipping through the Sunday paper that was splayed across the kitchen table. “He got married a couple of weeks ago. To that nurse—the one with the big . . .” Flo held her hands in front of her chest.

“Well, what do you know.” Lucille shook her head. “So what’s wrong with Richie then?”

“Let’s not talk about it now.”

“Fine. But I’m just saying, you don’t want to let this one slip through your fingers.”

They stared at each other like two gunslingers getting ready to shoot it out.

A baby’s wail punctuated the silence.

“Lucy’s up.” Flo’s face softened.

Just then the bell rang. Lucille wiped her hands on her apron and hurried to the front door.

“Angela,” she said. “Loretto. Come on in.” Lucille held the door wider. “Cousin Louis. Cousin Millie. Nice to see yous.”

Until recently Louis and Millie had been living in a portioned-off space in Lucille’s rec room. Louis had had the misfortune to burn down the house they were renting, and they had no place to go on account of they couldn’t afford nothing. Lucille had taken them in. They were Frank’s father’s cousins once removed, after all. But with Tony moving in and the baby and all, Lucille’s sister had agreed to put a roof over their heads. Of course Lucille had had to twist her arm a little. Angela wasn’t big on thinking of others, and Lucille worried that that was going to stand in her way when it came time to get into heaven.

Lucille’s sister wrinkled her nose. “What’s that funny smell?”

“Never mind,” Lucille said as she shepherded them toward the kitchen. She turned to Angela’s husband. “Frankie’s got the game on downstairs.”

Lucille had barely made it back to the kitchen when she heard the front door open again. She stuck her head into the hall. “Come on in, Gabe.”

Gabe was Angela and Loretto’s son, and Lucille wasn’t used to him coming on his own. He was in his early twenties but until recently had still lived with his parents. Now he had a small place of his own, but for all the time he still spent at home he might as well move back in and save himself the rent money.

Half an hour later they were all seated around the table. Frankie was at the head, of course, playing with the salt and pepper shakers, anxious to eat and get back to the game. Tony, Bernadette’s husband—and Lucille still felt a thrill every time she said the word
—was slouched in his seat with Bernadette next to him.

Bernadette was nursing the baby, and Angela made a big show of turning her head the other way. Lucille didn’t see nothing wrong with it. Nursing a baby was just natural. Why spend all that money on that crap that came in a can if you were making good milk yourself?

Father Brennan didn’t seem to think nothing of it. He was smiling at Bernadette and waving a finger at the baby.

They finished off their soup—escarole soup with pignolis. Lucille figured one new dish was more than enough no matter what Bernadette thought.

Lucille brought out the chicken curry and a bowl of rice and placed them on the table. Everyone stared, and then began sniffing like a bunch of bloodhounds.

“The chicken goes on top of the rice,” Lucille said as they passed the dishes around. “The recipe said the rice will absorb the flavors.”

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