Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Al Dente’s Inferno
Tuscan Cooking School Mystery #1
BY Stephanie Cole

Berkley Prime Crime
February 18, 2020/ ISBN 978-0-593-09779-3

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


American chef Nell Valenti has moved to Tuscany to help establish a cooking school in an aging villa. Things start to go wrong almost right away and problems escalate after a filmmaker sent to showcase the school is murdered. Even worse—he is Nell’s ex-boyfriend! Nell decides to find out who the killer is to save her own future.

It was nice to read a mystery set in Italy. I don’t think there are many of them in the cozy mystery genre. The author described the setting and the people in detail and really set the tone quite well.

To be honest, the book just didn’t suit my tastes. I can’t put my finger on one particular reason, but there were a lot of Italian phrases used without translation and that was bothersome. The murder didn’t grab my attention because I didn’t care enough about any of the characters involved. Other than being set in Italy I couldn’t find anything unique to the story either.

The author has written as Shelley Costa and appears to have been quite successful having been nominated for both Edgar and Agatha awards. Perhaps she just has to find her rhythm and footing in this new series.

I never give up on a series if I don’t like one book, particularly when it is the first in a new series. I’d like to see many cozy readers try it, and I’d love for the author to surprise me with a stupendous second book in the series!

Reviewed 2020