Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Seven-Course Christmas Killer: A Holiday Novella from the Italian Kitchen | Review

Rosie Genova, author of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, serves up a new dish this week with the release of her e-book holiday novella, The Seven Course Christmas Killer: A Holiday Novella from the Italian Kitchen. Priced at 99¢, the e-book is available on Amazon and most other retailers.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve, as Vic and the gang prepare the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes for their annual holiday party. But before you can say “shrimp scampi,” Mayor Anne McCrae takes a nasty fall that may not be an accident. Add a nosy reporter, guests with grudges, and a missing kitchen knife — and Vic suddenly has all the ingredients for murder!

The Blurb

On Christmas Eve, someone might be sleeping with the fishes. . .

It’s December at the Casa Lido, which means only one thing: the Rienzi family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration, including wine, song, and seven Italian seafood courses. As Victoria and Tim prep scungilli and calamari, Nonna directs the cooking until all is in readiness for the big night.

But the holiday cheer is interrupted by the attempted murder of Mayor Anne McCrae, who asks Vic to investigate. Trouble is, there are as many suspects as there are fishes on the Christmas Eve menu . . .

The Seven-Course Christmas Killer 
by Rosie Genova

Series: An Italian Kitchen Mystery, #3.5
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Culinary Mystery, Holiday
Publisher: Beyond the Page
Publication Date: November 27, 2016
Print Length: 77 pages
e-Book File Size: 421 KB

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The Review

I just read an amazing novella recently, y'all — The Seven-Course Christmas Killer by Rosie Genova. Let me tell you a little about it. 

Book #3.5 in the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, The Seven-Course Christmas Killer is a great cozy culinary mystery set at the Jersey Shore. The other books in the series are  Murder and Marinara (Book #1  four stars!), The Wedding Soup Murder (Book #2  four stars!), and A Dish Best Served Cold (Book #3  Five Kitties!, reviewed here). 

The Seven-Course Christmas Killer can be read as a standalone, because you don't require any  other information from previous books in order to figure out the mystery. All of the clues and motives are contained within the novella. Author Rosie Genova has included teasers in The Seven-Course Christmas Killer to some of the mysteries and fun plot lines found in her previous Italian Kitchen books. I suspect these teasers will make you want to read the entire series — I think you'll love them all.  
The Seven-Course Christmas Killer takes place mostly during the Oceanside Park, New Jersey annual Christmas Eve charity dinner, hosted at Casa Lido for the local business owners and town officials. The Rienzi family follows the Italian tradition of serving seven fishes on Christmas Eve at these dinners. [Why seven? Why fishes? Rosie explains, in her Author's Note.] 

This year, the menu is:
Calamari Fritti
Scungilli Salad
Scallops a la Casa
Clams Casino
Linguini ai Fruitti de Mare
Shrimp Scampi (recipe included!)
Grilled Pulpo

Anne McCrae, the town mayor (who is more interested in the power she wields, than in cultivating good relationships with her constituents), is the guest of honor at the dinner. As mayor, Anne gets the honor of placing the star atop the Casa Lido Christmas Tree (with a photo op, of course). 

Anne also gets to dine with at least five people who make "no bones about their antipathy for Anne McCrae...." When an accident occurs as she's starring the tree, there's no shortage of suspects for Victoria and Sofia to investigate. And to determine the culprit. During the dinner. Or else Anne will sue the restaurant for her accident. (Fortunately for Vic and Sofia, they have seven courses during which to sleuth.) To learn whodunit, and find out if Vic figures it out before Anne's deadline, you'll want to read the novella. 

I enjoyed my brief visit on the Jersey Shore, while reading The Seven-Course Christmas Killer. I've missed Vic and her friends and family at Casa Lido. I hope there will be a fourth Italian Kitchen Mystery soon. The Seven-Course Christmas Killer was a quick read for me, because I just had to find out who the perp was. I love the ending, with its unexpected but satisfying twist. I think you'll love it too.

Fans of Rosie Genova's Italian Kitchen Mysteries won't want to miss The Seven-Course Christmas Killer, her latest entry in the series. Fans of holiday settings, culinary cozies, Italian kitchens, and scrumptious recipes (four of them  I can't wait to try them all!) will love The Seven-Course Christmas Killer too.   

I highly recommend The Seven-Course Christmas Killer by Rosie Genova, and bestow upon it our highest rating of Five Kitties.  

Five out of five kitties

The Author

About Rosie Genova

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries. Her debut, Murder and Marinara, was voted a Best Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. Her books have been described as blending “mystery with comedy, romance, family drama, a vivid and affectionate portrayal of the Jersey shore and… oh yes, cooking.”

The proud mama of three grown sons, Rosie still lives in her home state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy. She also writes women's fiction as Rosemary DiBattista.

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