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May 9, 2022

Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride by Lorenzo Carcaterra ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Lorenzo Carcaterra is a seasoned writer but this is the first book by him that I've read. The cover and the description of Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride caught my attention. And I'm glad I got a copy of it.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of mystery Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride by Lorenzo Carcaterra
May 2022; Bantam; 978-0399177620
audio, ebook, print (272 pages); mystery

This book would make a great beach read. It is set in southern Italy - a popular vacation spot along the sea. The sunny, seaside setting is vividly described so even if you aren't on the beach you will feel like you are.

Nonna Maria is a widow with a number of children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She has lived her entire life in this village and is a friend to many. She loves her family and cooking. She is often sought out by the locals to help them settle issues - they go to her before they go to the local police. But she maintains that she doesn't solve crimes - she just helps out friends. 

I've been reading Mario Giordano's Auntie Poldi series which is set in Sicily and I felt that Nonna Maria and the Case of the Missing Bride has a similar vibe. 

I loved the characters. The characters are interesting but not as quirky as you sometimes get with a cozy mystery. I feel if I were to visit Ischia (it's a real island outside of Naples) I would see Nonna Maria sitting outside of the cathedral or Peppa the Painter in his shop. Just as Carcaterra provided rich descriptions of the island, he gave depth and fullness to his characters.

There isn't just one mystery but two. There is the mystery from the title: a young woman finds herself about to marry a man she barely knows. There have been rumors in the past that there was a drug given to unsuspecting men and women who then weeks later 'wake up' married to a stranger. Wake up is in quotes because while the drug has similar effects as ruffies, the victim isn't unconscience and it lasts a couple of weeks. There has never been any proof such a drug existed but the people of Ischia are a superstitious people. This is what the young woman believes happened to her. The man she is about to marry is recognized by the local police captain - he had been married to his sister before her death. Not that Nonna Maria needed more proof that Bertoli was a bad man but she is determined to make sure he doesn't hurt any more women. 

I'll leave you to discover the other mystery.

If you are looking for an interesting, light read that isn't a romance to enjoy at the beach, pool, or on your porch, then this is the perfect book to get. There is no indication that this is the start of a series but I'm hoping there will be more books featuring Nonna Maria and the people of Ischia. 

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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