Friday, September 12, 2014

Cozy Mystery Blog Tour: Author Guest Post, Review & Giveaway: The Wedding Soup Murder (An Italian Kitchen Mystery #2) by Rosie Genova

Victoria Rienzi came home to the Jersey Shore to write a new book, learn the family restaurant business, and practice the fine art of Italian cooking. But when delicious dishes are paired with murder, Vic has a little too much on her plate…

When Vic asked her Nonna for more responsibility in the kitchen, she didn’t mean forming a thousand tiny meatballs by hand for the family’s famous wedding soup. The dish is to be served at the reception for a close family friend at the exclusive Belmont Country Club. And once there Vic has to deal with a demanding bridezilla and clashes in the kitchen—between the staff and servers, between two egocentric head chefs, and between the country club president and…well…everyone.

The wedding comes off without a hitch—until the body of the club’s president is found on the beach below a high seawall. Now Vic will need to use her noodle to find out who pushed whom too far…before she’s the one who lands in the soup!

When I conceived of the idea for a mystery series set in an Italian restaurant, it felt entirely natural to place that restaurant at the Jersey shore, in the fictional town of Oceanside Park.  There's a long tradition of Italian cuisine in New Jersey, from boardwalk stands to upscale restaurants.  The setting of the books, the Casa Lido restaurant (which literally means "beach house") is a family-owned establishment presided over by the tight-knit Rienzi family: Nonna, the matriarch and iron-handed manager; her son Frank, the easygoing host; his wife Nicolina, who keeps the accounts, and their daughter Victoria, my main character.  It's the kind of place that serves rustic, seasonal food in a wood-paneled dining room with red and white checked tablecloths - the kind of place that people go back to, season after season.  

In fact, most shore restaurants rely on strong summer business to keep them going throughout the year.  In the first Italian Kitchen Mystery, Murder and Marinara, the Casa Lido's livelihood is threatened when Victoria discovers the corpse of an unpopular television producer in her grandmother's tomato garden.  Since the dead man ate his last meal there, the restaurant suddenly loses its customers, inspiring Vic to use her sleuthing skills to solve the murder in time for the start of the summer season.  The book also contains recipes of dishes served in the restaurant, including the marinara sauce in the title.  (If you make it once, you'll never open a jar again!) 

In The Wedding Soup Murder, Vic is called upon to help cater the soup course at a wedding reception being held at the upscale Belmont Country Club.  Her first job, assigned by her ornery Nonna, is to make a thousand tiny meatballs for the soup!  At the reception, she and her ex-boyfriend Tim, now the sous chef at Casa Lido, have to prepare the soup on site at the Belmont.  While there, they run afoul of a testy pastry chef, a spoiled bride, and the club's president, Elizabeth Merriman.  When Elizabeth's body shows up on the beach the next day and a family friend comes under suspicion, Vic reluctantly takes on the case.  The soup in the title is made with a meatball recipe that was passed down to me by my mom and grandmother, and if I do say so myself, they are very tasty.  

I hope that the Italian Kitchen Mysteries portray the Jersey shore that I love - a place with a long and proud history, beautiful beaches, miles of boardwalk fun, and of course, good Italian food!  

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves
as the setting for much of her work. The atmosphere of the Jersey shore is present in the details, whether it’s the smell of the sea, the sound of a Springsteen song, or the taste of a frozen custard on the boardwalk. And no summer is complete unless she has sand in her shoes.

Her new series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, is informed by her deep appreciation for good food, her pride in her heritage, and her love of classic mysteries, from Nancy Drew to Miss Marple. The first book in the series, Murder and Marinara, was released in October and voted a Best Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. An English teacher by day and novelist by night, Rosie also writes women’s fiction as Rosemary DiBattista.

I have never read a cozy series that was so... Jersey.  It's got everything you'd expect from characters that live and breathe their atmosphere.  It's confident, Italian, sassy and humorous.  Vic is the kind of character that you can easily fall in love with.  Her personality is so feisty!  

The Wedding Soup Murder is a fabulous mystery that's full of so much life.  It's definitely a series worth reading.  Not to mention the fact that it's full of awesome food ;)  The author is creative and it's beyond obvious that she reached deep within her roots to create a real, wonderful story.  I can't wait to read the next book!  

Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  All conclusions reached are my own.  

Thanks to the awesome ladies at Penguin, I have 1 paperback copy of The Wedding Soup Murder by Rosie Genova to give away to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win, and be sure to keep checking back for more awesome giveaways!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Rosie said...

Marie, thanks so much for having me today and for your kind words about The Wedding Soup Murder!

Elizabeth Bevins said...

This sounds wonderful. I look forward to reading it!

penney said...

This sounds good, thanks for the review on it.

Unknown said...

Marie, I love the line "confident, Italian, sassy and humorous." Just about right! :o)

Post a Comment

Blogger Templates