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by Shelley Costa
Pocket Books, May 2013
336 pages
ISBN: 1476709351

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

YOU CANNOLI DIE ONCE is the first book in a new mystery series featuring a family-owned Italian restaurant in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. When an injury ended her dance career, Eve Angelotta came home to take over as chef at Miracolo Northern Italian Restaurant, her family's business. Giving up her dance career was hard, but probably not as hard as working day in and day out with her persnickety grandmother, Maria Pia Angelotta known by all as Nonna. Not only does Nonna run the restaurant but she also runs the family and well, honestly, the entire neighborhood - or at least she thinks she does. But what she really means to those around her shines through when Nonna's current main squeeze is found dead in the kitchen of the restaurant with his head bashed in. Nonna is at the top of the suspect list and when she is arrested, Eve, the other employees, and friends rally around Nonna and work to find the killer.

Since YOU CANNOLI DIE ONCE involves a restaurant, food is discussed throughout the book and there is a token recipe at the end for cannoli. However this book has much more going for it than the food aspect. The restaurant is decorated with shadow boxes filled with opera memorabilia which play heavily in the plot. For anyone even remotely interested in opera, this was a pleasant bonus. The biggest plus for this book is the cast of characters. They are a colorful group that comes alive for readers without being too over the top. They are also characters that will cause readers to nod their heads as they recognize people in their own life who are just like them. Doesn't everyone know at least one mediocre singer who thinks she is destined for greatness? The various people who come and go from not only the restaurant but the other businesses up and down the street feel just right for a small, tight community.

But the heart and soul of this book is the warm relationship between Nonna and her granddaughter Eve. Yes, Nonna is difficult to manage, but she's family-and nothing is more important.

Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, May 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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