cover image Scorched Grace: A Sister Holiday Mystery

Scorched Grace: A Sister Holiday Mystery

Margot Douaihy. Zando/Gillian Flynn, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63-893024-2

Sister Holiday Walsh, the narrator of poet Douaihy’s stunning fiction debut and series launch, calls herself “the first punk nun.” This cursing, chain-smoking queer nun who wears gloves and a heavy scarf to hide her tattoos is unlike any nun encountered on the page or in real life. Yet Holiday is most sincere about her faith in God, her devotion to the Catholic Church, and finding a home among the Sisters of the Sublime Blood in New Orleans. When Saint Sebastian’s School where she teaches is targeted by an arson attack in which a beloved janitor dies, Holiday turns sleuth to find the attacker and save the school, which is in danger of being closed by the diocese. More fires—and deaths—occur as Holiday’s investigation heats up, pitting her against her fellow sisters and staff. Given her background, she becomes a prime suspect. This briskly plotted master class in character development makes the most of its New Orleans setting, “the crucible... of miracles and curses.” Douaihy (Bandit/Queen: The Runaway Story of Belle Starr) is off to a terrific start. Agent: Laura Macdougall, United Agents. (Feb.)