It’s the deadliest thyme of the year…
With snow dusting the ground and sauce sizzling on the stove, local chef Tessa Esposito is ready to serve up some holiday cheer. And with the annual Festival of Lights underway, it seems nothing can dim her spirits. Not even Mario Russo, the newest scrooge in town whose espresso bar has been quickly disrupting businesses and stealing customers from Harvest Park’s favorite coffeehouse.
But when Mario is discovered at the festival’s opening, face down in a Santa suit, Tessa realizes the bah humbug runs deeper than she could have imagined. And when one of her dearest friends is implicated in the crime, she must make a list of Mario’s enemies, check them twice, and discover the cold-blooded killer. Especially before they can sleigh again.
My review of The Enemy You Gnocchi
I’ve really been feeling like getting into some cosy mysteries lately, and when I came across The Enemy You Gnocchi on NetGalley I had the feeling it was going to be just what I was after – I mean, look at the cover! Christmas, a food pun title, AND a cat on the front! I’m pleased to say that having read this one it absolutely hit the spot!
This is the third book in Catherine Bruns’ Italian Chef Mysteries series. I feel like picking up a Christmas themed cosy that is part of a bigger series can be risky, because sometimes there is just so much background and so many characters that have been introduced in previous books and it gets a bit hard to follow. This was not the case with this book – I felt like there was a good balance of discussion of the past with little introductions of the characters, which made the world feel more full, and gave some dimension to the main characters’ stories, without leaving me feeling like I needed a labelled diagram of relationships to keep up. I definitely think this is one that can be enjoyed as a stand alone, although that said, I enjoyed it enough to go back and read more from the series.
The characters were fun, and I liked that we got to see some of the dynamic of Tessa’s family. Mario was awful – there’s quite an icky scene at the start where he is a calling Tessa his girlfriend and grabs at her that grossed me out a bit (and made me hope his murder was coming along soon). The story was fairly light on romance, although Tessa has no shortage of possible love interests, and I thought the development of her feelings and relationship with one of the men was a nice touch to have running alongside the rest of the story. I also thought the backdrop to the story felt Christmassy enough to justify being a Christmas book, rather than just Christmas adjacent.
If you’re looking for a Christmas cosy murder, this one is definitely worth checking out!
The Enemy You Gnocchi by Catherine Bruns
Out now from Poisoned Pen Press.
Source: Free ecopy kindly provided by Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley (thank you!). All views are my own
The Enemy You Gnocchi on Goodreads.
If you’re interested in Christmas Cosy mysteries you can check out my previous reviews here.