Nicole Vasques was an employee of the Santa Clara Department of Motor Vehicles, before which she volunteered briefly for the mayoral campaign of Warren St. Claire.
While going over the campaign's accounts, she discovered evidence that Gavin Lloyd, the campaign manager, was embezzling funds. She brought the discrepancy to his attention. At first, he tried to put her off, but she apparently discovered the true nature of his actions. Discovered, he attempted to bribe her into silence, but she refused.
Panicking, Lloyd hired mercenary Ian Sykes to kill her. Sykes stabbed her to death in her apartment, making it look like a burglary gone wrong. However, Adrian Monk, in his first consultation case since his suspension from the San Francisco Police Department, noticed clues that connected Vasques with the campaign, which eventually led him to Lloyd and Sykes. (Monk: "Mr. Monk and the Candidate")
Vasques was a Dutch Calvinist, and did not drink or smoke.