Bell’s plethora of characters charm but can also overwhelm, challenging the reader to guess which ones play essential roles in this sleight-of-hand suspense. Readers already familiar with the earlier Annalisse sleuth mysteries will have a leg up when it comes to following Scattered Legacy’s narrative. Several portraits are recognizable types, such as a mafia godfather known as “The Birdman,” and others are strikingly original, but all add welcome, vivid liveliness. Throughout, Bell delivers memorable scenery, complete with orecchiette pasta dishes and tarantella music, tempting readers to book a one-way flight to southern Italy.
Best of all, Annalisse’s wry interpretations of events offer laugh-out-loud moments—she is a unique detective, endowed by Bell with a distinctive snappy voice in narration and dialogue both. Her expertise and nearly supernatural ability to detect an object’s significance by touching it combine to fascinating effect, such as when the centuries-old rosary medallion hurts her hand, and ominous artifacts like a blackbird broach planted in her purse add to the juicy intrigue. Although her relationship with Alec takes a back seat to solving the crimes, their love culminates in a climactic shocker the reader won’t forget. Both travel junkies and mystery lovers will savor Bell’s polished and witty mystery.
Takeaway: Mystery fans will relish this sly whodunnit, in which an antiques expert sleuth is on the case in romantic Italy.
Great for fans of: David P. Wagner’s Cold Tuscan Stone, Adriana Licio.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A