2nd in Series
Setting - Rome, Italy
Level Best Books
Publication Date: May 18, 2023
Paperback: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1685123384 / ISBN-13: 978-1685123383
Digital ASIN: B0C13DRJQN
After a decade dominating the expat scene in Rome, Faye Masters has had enough beautiful art, delicious food, and bureaucratic nonsense to last a lifetime. She’s just about decided to pack up and head home when a rival drops dead at one of Faye’s famous cocktail parties. Rumors fly that Faye was the intended target, but the police think Faye might just be an attention-seeking poisoner.Faye refuses to let the cloud of suspicion stop her from completing a self-imposed 25-picture Caravaggio Challenge. Or keep her from assisting friends Maggie White and Thomas Evans on their painting tours of Rome. But when the leads fizzle out and a series of accidents hit close to home, Faye accepts her own life is on the line. She must search for a killer while keeping up appearances at some of Rome’s most iconic sights.
I literally suspected EVERYONE!
Murder in Trastevere is the second book in author Jen Collins Moore’s intriguing Roman Holiday Mystery series, but the first to feature ex-pat mover and shaker Faye Masters in the lead role. In this mystery, Faye becomes a murder suspect when a fairly recent addition to her close-knit group of friends dies during a party thrown in her honor in Faye’s apartment.
Faye Masters proves to be a tough character to love initially. She’s opinionated, completely involved in their group’s dynamics, and controlling. A criticism repeated in the story is that she always has to be right. I can relate and can’t really fault her for this! However, she’s in the middle of a painful divorce, and she’s been hiding assets from her husband, of which he is entitled a portion. It’s dishonest, but darn if I don’t feel like she’s been done completely wrong by that man and deserves it. In fact, she was much kinder to him than I would have been. I would have set those boxes and the golf clubs he left behind out in the piazza for him to retrieve himself.
As the story unfolds, Faye relaxes and lets go of some of her attitudes, especially when her crowd of so-called friends goes MIA. I had a lot of empathy for Faye. She’d been the glue for the ex-pat community for over ten years – the hostess with the mostest – and this is how she was treated? She kept wishing for things to get back to normal so she could return with her friends until she finally stopped and re-evaluated those friendships. I look forward to seeing how she will go on in the future with these people. Finally, I think this is the only cozy mystery character I’ve ever encountered who, upon being targeted for murder, realizes someone thinks she’s so awful that she deserves to die.
Integral to the charm of the story is the fabulous Roman setting. Faye’s excursions throughout the city on her scooter were fun and interesting. I enjoyed her goal of viewing all the locally held Caravaggio paintings. With quotations from the artist’s biography heading each chapter, Faye’s impressions, and images courtesy of Wikipedia, I almost felt like I was along for the ride to the churches and museums. The descriptions of meals and pastries were a to-die-for bonus.
The murder mystery was intriguing and much more intricate than I first thought. As things progressed, there were many possible theories of motives and matching suspects. The evidence pointed to everyone, and I eventually suspected EVERYONE at one point or another. The resolution was a good one, and with Faye re-examining her future with new eyes, I look forward to the next adventure for her, Maggie, Burt, and Thomas.
I recommend MURDER IN TRASTEVERE to cozy mystery readers, especially those who read the previous book in the series or enjoy stories set in Rome.
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