Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa (Miracolo Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good story and entertaining characters
Cons: A little hard to keep the large cast straight at first
The Bottom Line:
Body in kitchen
And Grandma is chief suspect
Sift clues for killer

Dead Bodies and Rebel Cannoli

A murder mystery set at a family run Italian restaurant starring a cast of eccentric, lovable characters.  That was the first description I heard of You Cannoli Die Once, and after I read that, how could I resist giving the book a try.  I’m glad I did because I enjoyed it.

After an accident ended her dancing career, Eve Angelotta has returned to Pennsylvania to become the head chef at her family’s Italian restaurant.  Well, she and her grandmother, Maria Pia have their tussles over who is really in charge; for example, Eve is not allowed to offer cannoli as a dessert option since it comes from the wrong part of Italy.

One morning, Eve arrives at the restaurant to find a dead man in the kitchen.  She doesn’t recognize him, but one of her cousins does – the man is Maria Pia’s current boyfriend.  How did he get in the kitchen?  And can Eve keep Maria Pia out of jail for the crime?

The large cast of characters proved to be both a blessing and a curse.  I really did enjoy them – once I got to know them.  I spent much of the first half trying to remember how the various characters fit into the family tree.  Once I got that straight in my mind, I was able to sit back and enjoy.

Now this isn’t to say that the characters didn’t have their own personalities.  All the major characters were well defined, which is part of what helped.  Some of the supporting cast got lost in the shadows, but hopefully they’ll get more of a chance to shine in future books.

The family interactions were perfect.  You could tell the characters loved each other even when they got on each others nerves.  The teasing and humor sparkled as well.  I really enjoyed that aspect of things.

So how about the plot?  Things started quickly and continued to unspool at a consistent pace.  There were some surprises along the way before reaching a satisfying end.

There is a recipe in the back as well for Eve’s “Rebel Cannoli.”  Yes, she does make it at one point in the book as well.  It certainly sounds delicious.  In fact, there were lots of delicious sounding dishes throughout the book.  If you love Italian food, your mouth is sure to water.

Between the story and the characters, I was entertained by You Cannoli Die Once.  I’ll be making a reservation for the sequel when it comes out.


  1. I saw this on a new release list and it totally enticed me then. Good to know that the content is as enjoyable as the cover and title.

  2. Love the title! Sounds like a book all foodie/cozy lovers would enjoy!
    Thanks for adding your link to the Foodies Read Challenge!

    1. Yep, this is another great foodie/cozy series for fans of those.

      Thanks for hosting the challenge.