Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Murder in an Italian Village by Michael Falco

First Line: Early May in Positano meant anticipation, la quiete prima della tempesta, the quiet before the storm.

With the grand opening of her bed and breakfast approaching, recent widow Bria Bartolucci and her eight-year-old son Marco are about to begin a new chapter in their lives in Positano, a beautiful village on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. 

But that new chapter may be over before it's had a chance to begin when Bria comes home to find a dead body in one of her guest rooms. The police are just as puzzled as she is, and when suspicion falls on her employee, Bria knows that, in order to save her reputation and her business, she needs to catch the real killer.


The major reason why I chose to read Murder in an Italian Village was for its setting of Positano on the Amalfi Coast. I've seen paintings and photographs of Positano, and it's incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, this first Bria Bartolucci mystery didn't quite live up to its setting.

I did enjoy the setting and learning about village life there, and the author created a mystery that kept me guessing as Bria and her best friend, Rosalie, kept uncovering secrets. However, the book was hampered by a slow pace, one of those budding love triangles that I do not care for, and-- perhaps-- too much Italian flair.

Being a lover of Italian food, I think there could have been more of that in this book, but Falco could be saving that for when Bria's bed and breakfast is actually up and running. One of the things that got on my nerves quickly was how all the characters were quick to scream, shout, bellow, cry, and screech. I know this was used to show the excitable Italian temperament, but I think it might have been better served by using more exclamation points and fewer decibel-loaded verbs.

One thing that I enjoyed but that may annoy other readers was the amount of Italian used in the story. Italian is a beautiful language, and with my knowledge of French, I found it relatively easy to decipher a phrase when its meaning was not clear in context. The author does include a glossary in the back, but I can see readers become tired of flipping back and forth. 

Although I know the author had to set up his characters, some areas needed more editing-- like the minute details of what all the principal characters were wearing during a party on board a yacht. There was so much detail that I found myself skimming through, but if you're passionate about fashion, your mileage will undoubtedly vary.

When all is said and done, I found Murder in an Italian Village to be a good story that could have been told better. Will I visit Bria again? I do not know.

Murder in an Italian Village by Michael Falco
eISBN: 9781496742155
Kensington Books © 2023
eBook, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #1 Bria Bartolucci mystery
Rating: C-
Source: Net Galley


  1. Hmm....sounds like a mixed bag then, Cathy: beautiful scenery and an interesting puzzle, but some other things that didn't live up to what you hoped. As soon as I saw the title and the premise, I thought it might be of interest to me, because the setting does appeal, and I could see how it could have been a great story. Not sure anymore, and I think I'll wait on it. There's enough screaming and bellowing in the real world; don't need it in my fiction...

  2. It's a great first line, and I really like the cover. The Italian setting is always a good one, too. It's too bad the mystery itself wasn't quite as enjoyable as you hoped.

  3. Something must be wrong with me. I'm almost relieved that this isn't going to be another new series to tempt me into catching up with it.

    1. I don't think there's anything wrong with you at all, Sam!

  4. Whew. Another book I don't have to read. Thank you Kittling Books. I have seen many photos of the gorgeous Amalfi Coast. But I'll just look at more photos now.


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