Release Date: Dec 1, 2020
Series: A Ferrara Family Mystery
Alberta Ferrarra Scaglione accompanies her sister Helen to Veronica’s Diner located in their hometown of Tranquility, New Jersey. Helen has become friends with one of the waitresses there, Teri Jo Linbruck. The frazzled waitress asks Helen to do a favor for her and deliver a box for her. It seems like a simple request, but before Teri Jo can explain any further, Teri Jo collapses to the floor of the diner with a knife in her back. Alberta, Helen, Alberta’s sister-in-law Joyce, and Alberta’s granddaughter Jinx decide to conduct their own investigation, whether their friend Vinny, the local police chief, likes it or not.
This book is the fourth Ferrara Family Mysteries, but can be read as a standalone. New readers won’t know all of the details about the characters, but the author does a good job of summarizing the most important about the main characters. As in the other books in the series, the best part of the book is the loving relationship between Alberta, her sister, sister-in-law, and granddaughter. Alberta and Helena are proud of their Italian-American heritage and Italian sayings are sprinkled throughout the book. Most are translated into English. All of the chapter headings are also in Italian giving the book an authentic Italian flair. Alberta is proud of her cooking, too, and there are a few recipes at the end of the book.
I love the way Alberta and her family work together to research potential suspects and gather clues. Alberta is observant and clever and missed her calling as a professional detective. However, I don’t like that they keep those facts from Vinny, sometimes slowing the overall investigation or putting lives in danger. I was able to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together right along with the Ferrara women. However, the plot got complicated with lots of side players so I was not able to guess the identity of the killer. There are a couple of slow spots in the middle of the book and Alberta’s scheme to confirm her theory about who the murderer starts out silly and gets very dramatic, but gets results. Overall, this is an entertaining mystery with a loving family at the heart of the story.