MINESTRONE MISCHIEF by Rosie Genova
SERIES: Italian Kitchen Mysteries #4
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Two Roses Books
RELEASE DATE: September 30, 2022
When a Halloween stalker shows up on Mischief Night, Vic encounters lots of tricks, no treats, and one murder …
It’s the post-summer season in Oceanside Park, and mystery writer Victoria Rienzi’s hometown is preparing for one last blast on the boardwalk—its annual Mischief Night parade, held the evening before Halloween. While Nonna keeps her busy making treat bags full of Italian candy, Vic dreams up the perfect costumes for herself and Tim: Nick and Nora Charles, the famed detective pair from The Thin Man movies. Completing their look is a canine scamp, Willie, borrowed to play the part of Nora’s pet terrier.
But Victoria’s excitement is dimmed by the presence of a stalker, Edward Millman, who’s seen lurking around the Rienzi family restaurant. And who shows up at the Mischief Night parade dressed as Victoria’s book sleuth, Bernardo Vitali. But halfway through the parade, Willie sniffs out trouble, leading Vic and Tim on a not-so-merry chase that brings them to a dead body—Victoria’s stalker, Edward Millman. And in a scene straight out of Victoria’s latest book, Millman is found with a knife sticking from his chest, along with a nasty note: You deserved this.
As Vic digs into the details of the victim’s life, she wonders: Is it life imitating art? Or is there a more deadly form of mischief at work this Halloween?
Other Books In This Series
Minestrone Mischief is my first foray into the Italian Kitchen Mysteries by Rosie Genova, but it won’t be my last. I really liked the protagonist Victoria as well as her boyfriend Tim (aka Chef Hottie), her pregnant sister-in-law (and amateur sleuthing sidekick) Sofia, her Nonna and even her detective brother Dan. The author writes with wit and heart, and I enjoyed unraveling the twists of the mystery along with Vic & crew.
Speaking of the mystery… the initial setting of Mischief Night (a New Jersey Halloween tradition that I didn’t know about before) was perfect for the plot, and by its very nature of pranks it contributed to the tangle of clues that Vic had to sort through. The book club that dresses up as the fictional detective from Vic’s books adds further tangles to the clue pile – with layers that require her to dig deeply in order to separate fact from fiction. I thought this was an exceptionally well-plotted mystery with a few surprises along the way and a twist even to the reveal, yet another one I didn’t see coming.
Bottom Line: I love cozy mysteries any time of the year, but there’s something about a Halloween cozy that is especially appealing. Minestrone Mischief by Rosie Genova grabbed my attention with that adorable cover, and the story itself kept me invested in turning the pages and solving the crime. The writing voice is engaging and entertaining, and the characters are very likable. (The dash of romance was a nice bonus, too, but not a major part of the story, so romance-fans and mystery-purists are all happy.) I thought the premise of the protagonist as a mystery writer working at her family’s Italian restaurant was unique (and so was utilizing a classic mystery which I won’t reveal for fear of spoilers), and the murder mystery was intriguing and layered. I haven’t read the first four books – and only felt a little lost at first – but I’ll definitely be following this series from now on!
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / enjoyed it!
Reviewer’s Note: Readers of this blog may want to be aware that there is some mild cursing in this novel.
Bestselling and award-winning author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for much of her work. The inspiration for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, comes from her deep appreciation for Italian food, her affinity for the New Jersey seaside, and her love of classic mysteries from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. A former journalist and teacher, Rosie also writes women’s fiction and suspense. The proud mama of three grown sons, she still lives in her favorite state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy.
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What about you? What makes you want to read Minestrone Mischief by Rosie Genova?