I’m back on tour with Lone Star Book Blog Tours with my review of an engaging mystery from Marlene M. Bell titled Scattered Legacy: Murder in Southern Italy.
Murder in Southern Italy
Annalisse Series, #3
MARLENE M. BELL
Genre: Mystery / Romance
Publisher: Ewephoric Publishing
Date of Publication: November 4, 2021
Number of Pages: 352 pages
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To outsiders, the relationship between Manhattan antiquities assessor Annalisse Drury and sports car magnate Alec Zavos must look carefree and glamorous. In reality, it’s a love affair regularly punctuated by treasure hunting, high adventure, and the occasional dead body.
When Alec schedules a getaway trip to show Annalisse his mother’s Italian birthplace, he squeezes in the high-stakes business of divesting his family’s corporation. But things go terribly wrong as murder makes its familiar reappearance in their lives – and this time it’s Alec’s disgraced former CFO who’s the main suspect.
Accompanied by friend and detective Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec find themselves embroiled in a behind-closed-doors conspiracy that threatens the reputation and legacy of Alec’s late father – linking him to embezzlement, extortion, and the dirty business of the Sicilian Mafia. The key to it all might be a gifted set of rosary beads where Annalisse can use her skills for appraising artifacts to uncover the truth. She leads Alec toward answers that are unthinkable—and events that will change their futures forever.
Scattered Legacy is the third in Marlene M. Bell’s thrilling Annalisse series, which weaves romance, crime, and historical mystery into addictive tales to instantly captivate fans of TV show Bones or Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
Scattered Legacy is the third book in author Bell’s Annalisse series and the first adult book I’ve read from her. (I’ve previously reviewed her adorable children’s book Mia & Nattie here.) While animals play an important role in both, AND they are both engaging, that’s where the resemblance ends.
*Scattered Legacy includes a cat named Stella who is a clue in solving one of the mysteries that Annalisse and Alec need to solve)!
The story starts out with a jumble of scenes. Straight away, there’s a mysterious letter (and a bad feeling that comes with it), an attempted jewelry robbery, and a gift of a rosary that clearly has a story behind it (and some strong vibes of its own.) Have I mentioned that Annalisse has a touch of something extra – a touch of woo, a bit of sixth sense that picks up on vibes and history and such? There’s also a bit of backstory on some Mafia members that feels like a detour. However, just stick that information in your back pocket while you enjoy sights and smells of Italy that may just have you packing your bags.
Once I got through the opening chapter or two, the story picked up speed as more of the three storylines unfold and our MCs try to figure out if and how they are related and solve them before anyone else is killed (or arrested). There’s a lot of intrigue, interesting characters, and a bit of woo. (I still have questions about Sister Mary Natalina!)
The story features characters who, while living lives far more sophisticated and luxurious than mine, still feel relatable. Bell mixes up some suspense, conspiracies, murder, the mafia, and manages to mix in historical elements and gives the characters time to dig their toes into the sand. Trust me, you’ll be craving seafood and pasta by the end of it.
This is the third book in a series. While I read it as a standalone and (as mentioned previously) the author provides a lot of backstory in the beginning, with more details peppered throughout as needed, I think it would be enjoyed best if read in order. Not unlike trying to pick up a story midseason and your bestie tries to bring you up to speed, you miss out on both the sense of intrigue and the nuances that make the story so great.
Scattered Legacy both starts out a bit slowly while backstory is provided while at the same time throwing you right into chaos. By the time the characters arrive in Italy, however, the book has drawn you into it’s clutches and takes you on a roller coaster journey until the very end.
I’m giving Scattered Legacy four stars for a book that you’ll read in a weekend!
Link to the video trailer on YouTube
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer and acclaimed artist as well as a photographer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News, to name a few.
Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside in beautiful East Texas on a wooded ranch with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large Maremma guard dog named, Tia, along with Hollywood, Leo and Squeaks, the cats that believe they rule the household—and do.
THREE WINNERS (US ONLY):
1st SUPER GRANDPRIZE ($425 VALUE):
Patricia Nash leather bag; Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the Puglia Region of Italy; Orecchiette Pasta from the Puglia Region; Weekly 2022 Engagement Spiral Calendar; Silver/Gold Italy Coin necklace on 18” silver chain; autographed copy of Scattered Legacy; $50 VISA gift card.
2ND PRIZE & 3rd PRIZE
Signed copies of Scattered Legacy.
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 12/10/21)
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