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Nonna Maria and the Case of the Stolen Necklace

New York Times bestselling author Lorenzo Carcaterra takes us back to the sun-drenched Italian island of Ischia to visit Nonna Maria. I had been highly anticipating this one, and it did not disappoint!

Elderly widow Nonna Maria, who only drinks her own espresso and white wine, has spent her life in Ischia and knows the place and its inhabitants well. Having spent her life helping others, she now turns to an extensive network of friends and family to help her help local law enforcement catch criminals. This time she must help her goddaughter, who is wrongly accused of theft, and identify a strange woman found by the side of the road, who appears to have died in a hit-and-run accident.


I love this charming series! Armchair travel to a gorgeous locale, clever plots, and an endearing senior sleuth. These books have a unique style and landscape; the writing is very descriptive, and this second one is even better than the first. Nonna Maria is wise and resourceful and has a vast network of connections. As an older woman, some might underestimate her, but she deeply understands human nature and is always a step ahead. And part of her technique involves setting the scene for criminals to implicate themselves, so seeing them fall into her traps is a big part of the fun!


Carcaterra, whose family is from Ischia, is best known for grittier novels like Sleepers. And although this is very cozy, these books have an element of danger and some mysterious characters that give them a little touch of edginess. I can't wait to see how certain storylines and characters will develop as the series continues. Cozy mystery lovers, and anyone who loves a senior sleuth, you'll want to add this to your tbr!


Thank you to Random House Publishing Group Ballentine for the gifted ARC!


In honor of Nonna Maria, I paired this with espresso rather than tea, even though I know she only drinks the espresso she makes and would not touch mine!


SYNOPSIS:

Nonna Maria has a lot on her plate—and it's not just fresh pasta. Two crimes have rocked the sun-drenched island of Ischia, and once again, the island's denizens have called upon the espresso-brewing, sage-counsel-giving sleuth.


A wealthy woman alleges that a valuable necklace has been stolen from her hotel room. The necklace, she claims, has been in her family for decades. She blames one of the young women working on the cleaning crew as the most likely suspect—a young woman who turns out to be Nonna Maria's goddaughter. She takes the heat, but privately she proclaims her innocence.


Nearby, the body of a woman is found on a curved road near the borough of Barano. The woman is not known to anyone on the island. She has no purse, no identification. The one potential suspect is a young friend of Nonna Maria's who drove by the area that very night and thinks that he might have hit something—a pothole, or an animal, or maybe the woman in question.


It turns out that this woman has a history on the island, having left Ischia decades ago. But why did she return, and more important, who killed her? Like the links of a beautiful, missing necklace, it's up to Nonna Maria to string together the clues and solve these two mysteries before death comes to Ischia again.


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