Saturday, August 18, 2018

Murder on Memory Lake: A Ferrara Family Mystery

Hello!  Stabbed in the Baklava by Tina Kashian publishes on August 28 (I will be featuring it on August 30) along with Goodbye Cruller Word by Ginger Bolton and Shattered at Sea by Cheryl HollonA Christmas by the Sea is Melody Carlson's 2018 Christmas novel and it will be available on September 4.  As fall approaches there will be more Halloween and Christmas themed books available (hooray)!

Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo is the debut of A Ferrara Family Mystery series.  Alberta Scaglione is surprised when she learns her recently deceased aunt, Carmela had an estate and left it entirely to her.  It turns out that Carmela kept some secrets which included a lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey and a large amount of money.  The only caveat is that she cannot give away any of the money (i.e.—to her greedy relatives) for two years (she knew her niece well).  Alberta’s family used to vacation in Tranquility for two weeks every summer.  One morning, Alberta is sitting on the porch of her new home enjoying the view of the lake with her cat, Lola when she spots a dead body.  The victim is Alberta’s old high school nemesis, Lucy Agnostino.  While Chief Vinny D’Angelo is ready to declare it an accidental drowning, Alberta states it is murder and she can prove it.  Alberta’s granddaughter and local journalist, Jinx arrives during the hubbub for their weekly breakfast.  It turns out that the victim was murdered, and Alberta intends to track down the killer.  Jinx wants to prove her worth to her boss, so she teams up with Alberta to unravel the whodunit.  They get help from Helen, Alberta’s sister (and former nun) along with their former sister-in-law, Joyce (they actually prefer her to their brother).  These four ladies use their wits and connections to crack the case.

Murder on Memory Lake is a quirky cozy mystery filled with larger-than-life characters.  Alberta is a widow of Italian descent living in New Jersey and frequently uses Italian words and phrases.  Helen is a former nun, Joyce is their former sister-in-law, and Jinx (aka Gina) is Alberta’s granddaughter who just moved back to New Jersey.  Each woman has a different skill or knowledge which aids them in solving the case. Their diverse personalities does lead to frequent disagreements. There are numerous characters introduced throughout the story.  It seems that many of Alberta’s former classmates have relocated to Tranquility (what a coincidence).  I wish the author had taken the time to flesh out Alberta’s character.  She feels like a caricature.  The Italian phrases and words that she throws into conversations quickly became annoying and they are not always explained/translated.  I thought the author was overly wordy which led to a slower pace (a little rewriting would have made a difference). The dialogue (except for the Italian bits) was realistic and fits with the characters.  The point-of-view switches between Alberta and Jinx providing two distinct perspectives. The ladies investigate the mystery in their own way and update each other on their progress while indulging in delectable delights.  The ladies tend to jump to conclusions that are not supported by facts or evidence.  The mystery is slightly convoluted with a drawn out ending.  Most readers will arrive at the solution long before it is revealed.  I am giving Murder on Memory Lake 3 out of 5 stars.  Murder on Memory Lake has unique characters, humor, a black cat, a lovely setting and a curious murder mystery. 
The next book in A Ferrara Family Mystery series is Murder in Tranquility Park which will be out on March 26, 2019.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I will be sharing my review of Bloodlust by Midnight by Deanna Chase tomorrow.  It is the second book in Last Witch Standing series.  I hope that you have a relaxing day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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