Friday, August 8, 2014

The Wedding Soup Murder (Italian Kitchen Mystery) by Rosie Genova

Victoria, the Italian-American protagonist of this cozy-murder-mystery series, is back home with her family in New Jersey.  She's been put to work in the family restaurant, next to her ex-lover, and under the stern eye of her Nonna, her Italian-immigrant grandmother.
She crossed her arms, pressing her lips together in a tight red line of warning.  It was a line I knew better than to cross.

...if Nonna sensed weakness, she'd zero in for the kill
This is the second book in the Italian Kitchen Mystery Series.
  1. Murder and Marinara (reviewed on this site)
  2. The Wedding Soup Murder

 The first book in the series is reviewed on this site, too.

The series looks set to continue, and that is no surprise.  The books are well-written and well-edited, and hit all the right notes for the genre.  We have a murder mystery lightened by some humor and a bit of romance.  The setting is refreshing, and Victoria's Italian-American family is fun to spend some time with.

The family's restaurant is centrally located in a beach community, a community peppered with Italian-Americans and Italian food.
The summer season was in full swing as Tim and I headed out of our small beach town of Oceanside Park.  It was a Saturday in July, and thousands of families had begun their yearly pilgrimage to the shore.

We are expertly introduced to the various characters who will later make up the murder victim and suspects.  The country-club setting and the busy kitchen provide many unique characters, and plenty of moments for fun.  All the characters ring true.

Victoria, a single thirty-something novelist, is torn, just like in the first book, between her feelings for her ex-lover and her anger at how he betrayed her in the past.  Their interplay is entertaining, with some snappy dialog.  Victoria is also pursued by a mysterious, hot carpenter.  I'm not a big fan of long drawn-out will-they-won't-they storylines that run over several books, so I'm hoping this storyline will be decided one way or another soon. 

Our protagonist narrates the story, with hindsight, tempting us with nuggets of information, forewarning us of events to come.  She has a dry humor, and is not adverse to laughing at herself.  Victoria has a writer's curiosity about people and events, which gets her into trouble, of course. 

Her sounding board and co-amateur detective is her sister-in-law.  She is also the one who goes on Victoria's adventures with her, getting into difficult scrapes, and landing in sometimes very dangerous situations.

Curious about Italian Wedding Soup?  Here is a two-minute lesson on how to make it:

These books are not heavy literature.  They are light, fun reads, cute-cozies, but with a few tear-tugging parts here and there.  I think the books might be most enjoyable for those who live in the area where the books are set, or who have family members who have something in common with Victoria's family.

As an extra bonus, the author includes three recipes of dishes mentioned in the book:  Wedding Soup, Beef Ragu, and Ricotta Cookies.

From the book's description (spoilers!):
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!

The Italian Kitchen Mystery Series is published by Obsidian, a Penguin Group USA subsidiary that specializes in cozy mysteries.

Here are direct links to The Wedding Soup Murder and Murder and Marinara at

Visit the author's website, and her Facebook Page.

This review is by Candida Martinelli, of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site, and the author of the cozy-murder-mystery novel AN EXTRA VIRGIN PRESSING MURDER, and the young-adult/adult mystery novel series THE VIOLET STRANGE MYSTERIES the first book of which is VIOLET'S PROBLEM.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your kind words about The Wedding Soup Murder! I also love your illustrations and food references--yum!