Series: Italian Restaurant Mystery #1
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Challenges: Cruisin' Through the Cozies | Finishing the Series
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Blurb from goodreads:
At Miracolo Northern Italian restaurant, one can savor brilliantly seasoned veal saltimbocca, or luscious risotto alla milanese, but no cannoli. Never cannoli. Maria Pia Angelotta, the spirited seventy-six-year-old owner of the Philadelphia-area eatery that's been in her family for four generations, has butted heads with her head chef over the cannoli ban more than once. And when the head chef is your own granddaughter, things can get a little heated.
Fortunately, Eve Angelotta knows how to handle what her nonna dishes out. But when Maria Pia's boyfriend is found dead in Miracolo's kitchen, bludgeoned by a marble mortar, the question arises: Can a woman this fiery and stubborn over cream-filled pastry be capable of murder?
The police seem to think so, and they put the elder Angelotta behind bars, while Eve, sexy neighborhood attorney Joe Beck, and the entire Miracolo family parenti di sangue and otherwise try every trick in the cookbook to unravel a tangle of lies and expose a killer.
The humor and some of the characters reminded me of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books but less stupid. Many of the characters are quirky, including all of Eve's family, but especially Maria Pia, and Eve's best friend, while others such as Eve, the heroine, are more solid and anchor the series. Eve did strike me as both naive and antagonistic, particularly towards her friend Dana. Maria Pia was often annoying and obnoxious but also had moments where she was funny or spunky.
The mystery was overly convoluted but there were lots of red herrings that kept me guessing. I really had no idea who was responsible or why. Eve stumbled her way through trying to exonerate her nonna but it made sense since it was her first time. It was painful and frustrating at times to see her fumble, but her bumbling was realistic. Then again, even with all the mysteries I read, I'm not sure I'd do any better. The lawyer and potential love interest, Joe Beck, was less realistic. I'm quite certain he could be disbarred for his actions. Ironically, he was supposed to be the voice of reason. Despite some implausibilities, the story had fun moments and I laughed often. If you want a light, easy mystery and like foodie stories, give "You Cannoli Die Once" a try.