Amy and her mother, Fanny, launch a business in which Amy leads tours with a mystery theme: all those on the tour attempt to solve a fictional murder while traveling to exotic locales. A writer is hired to create the mystery and deliver clues that Amy can supply the tourist-sleuths as they gallivant about Italy.
All fine, except that, as Amy is just beginning to greet her guests at the first location, she learns that the writer was murdered in his apartment — before telling Amy and Fanny whodunit. As the tour continues, it becomes clear that the story is based on a real-life unsolved crime and some of the guests were involved in the incident. On the final night of the tour, a guest is poisoned, and another guest, Marcus, is held in Italy for the crime. Amy believes Marcus is innocent and works with several of the other guests to investigate a new crime.
Fast paced with an appealing international flair, this story will likely cross gender and genre lines, appeal to both men and women as well as to readers of more than just cozies. Characters with plenty of flaws offer enough red herrings to keep the ending a surprise, even for seasoned mystery fans. A delightful new series. (Amy Alessio)