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Murder and Marinara
An Italian Kitchen Mystery #1
Rosie Genova

Obsidian / Berkley
October 2013 / ISBN 0451415140
Mystery – cozy


Reviewed by Cheryl Green

Mystery writer Victoria Rienzi has sent her fictional detective Bernardo Vitali on an extended vacation. She is leaving New York to return to her roots in Oceanside Park, NJ. There she plans to write a historical novel based on her family’s history. Plus she hopes to finally learn how to make her Nonna’s legendary marinara sauce. She will waitress by day at the 70+ year old family restaurant, Casa Lido, and write when she can fit it in. Nonna was not happy with her long absence and has given her the jobs she hates to do including ironing the napkins and planting flats of tomatoes in the back garden. To top it off no one told her that the new sous chef just happens to be Vic’s old boyfriend, Tim Trouvare.

The restaurant is closed for lunch the next day due to a rally being held in the Casa Lido’s parking lot. The rally is to protest the filming of a new RealTV reality show - The Jersey Side. This is a family town and the protesters do not want the show to disrupt the area. The producer, Gio Parisi, is there with several of his stars scouting locations and signing autographs. After the protesters have gone the restaurant gets its first customer of the day – Gio Parisi. He doesn’t care about the restaurant being closed – he just wants what he wants…now. To get rid of Gio before Nonna shows up – Vic gets Tim to make him a salad and grilled chicken. Gio also insults the restaurant and implies that he will have one of his stars speak badly about Casa Lido and they will lose business. Vic was glad when he finally left and goes to plant the tomatoes. After planting about a row of the tomatoes – she spies a shoe near the shed and goes to check it out.

The shoe is attached to the body of Gio Parisi. He is lying in his own vomit. Vic had better be very careful trying to solve this murder, she wouldn’t want to end up fried.

Things to ponder: How and why did Gio die? Will Nonna and Vic reconcile so that Vic will learn to cook? Will Vic ever write her new novel or will sky-rocketing sales of her Bernardo Vitali mysteries cause her to bring him back to work?

What a great beginning to a new series. Love the characters and especially the setting of the series. I found it impossible to put down. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. It was a fun, fast-paced read. I hope that Rosie is busy planning and plotting more books in the series as I am already craving a second helping. The author has also included some recipes in the delightful book. So if you like your mystery down the shore, then you should be reading Murder and Marinara. The next book in the series, The Wedding Soup Murder will be out summer of 2014.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Murder and Marinara #1
The Wedding Soup Murder #2

Reviewed 2013