Murder on Memory Lake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

This is the first book in a new series and what a start it was. I loved this loud, boisterous, sassy Italian family. When Alberta Scaglione's spinster aunt dies, she leaves her niece her lake house and money in Tranquility, NJ. Alberta is a widow and her children are grown, so she's happy to start a new phase of her life. Moving to the house on Memory Lake Alberta expected to have a nice peaceful place to retire but what she didn’t expect was to walk out and see a body floating in the lake. Just as the local law arrives so does Alberta’s granddaughter, Jinx. Jinx is a reporter and when she pitches an investigation to her boss, he shuts her down. Alberta and Jinx decide they will work together to solve the mystery of who killed Lucy Agostino, Alberta's childhood nemesis. 

This is a fun cozy mystery story. With the big Italian family, quirky characters (one of her sisters is a nun who left the convent) and the small town atmosphere, I wanted to head off to Tranquility to meet up with them all. Alberta and Jinx, the two main characters, bicker with each other as well as other characters, while loving each other unconditionally. Alberta is intelligent and feisty while Jinx is a capable reporter and amateur sleuth. As the story unfolds there are a few suspects, some red herrings, some twists and turns that left me guessing. This book had a lot of character building, so the mystery sometimes seemed to take a back seat to the craziness of the family, but that was okay, because I enjoyed the quirkiness. The final reveal was not on my radar and was a bit out there, but it fit with the rest of the story. My only complaint was the Italian phrase at the opening to each chapter. I did not know what the phrases meant and it was not translated in the story.  Overall I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to my next visit with The Ferrara Family.
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This is book 1 in the Ferrara Family Mystery series and it's a good one.  I love how Alberta Scaglione  inherits a cottage on Memory Lake and gathers her Italian family around.  When her granddaughter Jinx arrives just as an old frenemy of Alberta is found in the lake, they decide to investigate.  The mystery was well written, the only annoying thing about this book was all the comments among the family in Italian.  I like the older characters taking point and still be active women.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Princess Fuzzypant here:  Having a Momma who is of a certain vintage who never would and certainly never will again be a supermodel like meow, I appreciate books where the heroine is like fine wine and well aged.    Alberta is quite lady.  She has lived in the shadows of her difficult husband and now he is gone, she is ready to live her life.  It helps when a relative leaves her a fortune and a house of the lake where she used to summer as a child.  She has been beaten down by life but making the move and reconnecting with friends from her youth who all think she is a rather nifty woman (which she is) allows her to do things and take risks that she would have never done before.  
Her rebirth begins with the discovery of the drowned body of an adolescent nemesis.  What appears to be a simple accident turns out to be murder.  With the assistance of her friends and the granddaughter who grew up without her grandmother because the mother was estranged from the grandmother.  They make an unlikely alliance but they are able to figure out who did the dastardly deed and why.
Will Alberta survive the discovery?  Will Alberta find romance?  You will have to read the book because I am not tattling.
There are some real twists and turns in the story, some quite off the wall, but still enjoyable.  Plus we like spunky Alberta.  You go girl.
I give four purrs and two paws up.
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When Alberta Scaglione's spinster aunt dies, she leaves her niece her lake house and money in Tranquility, NJ. Alberta is a widow now and her children are grown, so she's happy to start a new phase of her life. Her peaceful prospects are interrupted, however, when the dead body of her childhood nemesis, Lucy Agostino, is found floating in the lake. Alberta teams up with her granddaughter, Gina -- known as Jinx -- to investigate who killed Lucy. 

I enjoyed this cozy mystery with its Italian flavor. Alberta and Jinx bicker with each other as well as other characters, as Italian families and friends will do while loving each other unconditionally. Alberta is intelligent and feisty. And Jinx is a capable reporter and amateur sleuth. The mystery was interesting with plenty of suspects and some twists. There are some yummy recipes (two kinds of cookies and meatballs & gravy!) at the end of the book too! That is always a plus!

This is a nice start to a new cozy series, the Ferrara Family Mysteries. A second book in the series, Murder in Tranquility Park will come out in March 2019. I will definitely keep reading this series. It has a nice mix of humor and mystery!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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Murder on Memory Lake takes place in Tranquility, NJ on Memory Lake. Alberta Scaglione’s spinster aunt had a secret like house there. Unfortunately, there’s a body in the lake and it belongs to Alberta’s childhood nemesis. Alberta is determined to solve the crime with her crime reporter granddaughter. Their relationship doesn’t start out so great but they work well together when it comes to crime solving. This story has an attractive small town setting as well as a reunion of high school friends. Well written book with depth to the characters. Thank you to Net Galley for sending me an advanced readers copy.
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The book involves Alberta, her granddaughter Jinx, her sister; an ex-nun: Helen and sister in law Joyce. The ladies are a hoot together and some of the lines Helen gives makes you laugh. The book had a slow start but it is the first one in the series. The story line moved at a quick pace as well.

Alberta inherits a cottage on Memory Lake from an aunt. She finds an old school rival floating in the lake one morning. The local sheriff says it was accidently and Alberta knows different. With the help of her grand daughter, sister and sister in law they find out who committed the murder.
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Great first installment to a new cozy series.  The writing flowed and I loved the characters.  I cant wait until book 2 is released.  This may be my new favorite series.  Thanks netgalley and Kensington Publishing for the ARC e-book in exchange for my honest review.
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Dollycas’s Thoughts

Most of us hope we have a long lost relative that will leave us a fortune. Well, Alberta Scaglione thought she knew her aunt quite well, but was totally surprised to find she had quite a nest egg and a house on the lake in Tranquility, New Jersey. Even more surprising was she left it all to Alberta. Alberta and her cat quickly moved to the house on Memory Lake. The view was idyllic until it was marred by a dead body in the lake. The dead body of someone she knows.

Alberta’s relationship with her daughter has always been strained. Her daughter and her family moved to Florida several years ago and have never come back, even for a visit, so Alberta is thrilled when her granddaughter accepts a job nearby as a journalist. Her dream is to be a hard news crime reporter so she jumps at the chance to team up with her grandmother on a little murder investigation of their own. But will they take it a step too far and put themselves in danger??

Our protagonist is an Italian grandmother and she doesn’t let her age get in the way of doing what she wants. Alberta and her granddaughter Jinx take on a lot to solve this murder mystery. Alberta knew it was murder way before the police did, she even had to point out the clues to her old friend, Chief Vinny D’Angelo. To get close to her suspects and to get information Alberta takes a job where the victim worked. She and Jinx come up with some zany ideas. They even get Alberta’s sister, a former nun, and sister-in-law, who they like much more than their brother, involved in their plans. This is a wonderful group of core characters. They have depth but the author has left them plenty of room to grow as the series continues.

Mr. Griffo has written an elaborate mystery with twists and turns and a unique motive. Several characters seem to have had means and opportunity but the motive seems to be the same. Watching the ladies try to figure out the victim’s “collection” was so enjoyable and at times really funny and sometimes scary. I liked that they sometimes split up or worked in pairs to do their inquiries and they met around the kitchen table to share their findings and theories. Like any Italian family food and drink was also involved, but Jinx trying to make Alberta’s recipes more health conscious was an epic fail 🙂 Sometimes their ideas were pretty out there. I had zeroed in on the killer just before Alberta but the way the ending played out was very exciting.

I liked the bits of Italian we learn throughout the story. The dialogue ran true and always had a nice flow.

Tranquility, New Jersey sounds like a really nice place to vacay. I sure enjoyed my first visit.
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Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo is the debut of The Ferrara Family Mystery series.  Alberta Scaglione is surprised when she learns her recently deceased aunt, Carmela had an estate and left it entirely to her.  It turns out that Carmela kept some secrets which included a lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey and a large amount of money.  The only caveat is that she cannot give away any of the money (i.e.—to her greedy relatives) for two years (she knew her niece well).  Alberta’s family used to vacation in Tranquility for two weeks every summer.  One morning, Alberta is sitting on the porch of her new home enjoying the view of the lake with her cat, Lola when she spots a dead body.  The victim is Alberta’s old high school nemesis, Lucy Agnostino.  While Chief Vinny D’Angelo is ready to declare it an accidental drowning, Alberta states it is murder and she can prove it.  Alberta’s granddaughter and local journalist, Jinx arrives during the hubbub for their weekly breakfast.  It turns out that the victim was murdered, and Alberta intends to track down the killer.  Jinx wants to prove her worth to her boss, so she teams up with Alberta to unravel the whodunit.  They get help from Helen, Alberta’s sister (and former nun) along with their former sister-in-law, Joyce (they actually prefer her to their brother).  These four ladies use their wits and connections to crack the case.

Murder on Memory Lake is a quirky cozy mystery filled with larger-than-life characters.  Alberta is a widow of Italian descent living in New Jersey and frequently uses Italian words and phrases.  Helen is a former nun, Joyce is their former sister-in-law, and Jinx (aka Gina) is Alberta’s granddaughter who just moved back to New Jersey.  Each woman has a different skill or knowledge which aids them in solving the case. Their diverse personalities does lead to frequent disagreements. There are numerous characters introduced throughout the story.  It seems that many of Alberta’s former classmates have relocated to Tranquility (what a coincidence).  I wish the author had taken the time to flesh out Alberta’s character.  She feels like a caricature.  The Italian phrases and words that she throws into conversations quickly became annoying and they are not always explained/translated.  I thought the author was overly wordy which led to a slower pace (a little rewriting would have made a difference). The dialogue (except for the Italian bits) was realistic and fits with the characters.  The point-of-view switches between Alberta and Jinx providing two distinct perspectives. The ladies investigate the mystery in their own way and update each other on their progress while indulging in delectable delights.  The ladies tend to jump to conclusions that are not supported by facts or evidence.  The mystery is slightly convoluted with a drawn out ending.  Most readers will arrive at the solution long before it is revealed.  I am giving Murder on Memory Lake 3 out of 5 stars.  Murder on Memory Lake has unique characters, humor, a black cat, a lovely setting and a curious murder mystery.
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This First in a New Series title is sure to be one of my favorites.
  The writing flows quickly with patches of Italian dialect thrown in for good measure. 
The setting and how our aging protagonist comes to be a resident on Memory Lake pulls you in from the get go.  You know how in some books it take forever for them to set you up with the backstory, the event in the beginning that leads up to the mystery and the accused and it all seems like so much work to get into? Yeah, that's not how it is in this book.  Add this to your to be read pile and dig in, you won't be disappointed.
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Welcome J.D. Griffo! This new series is a hit. 
As a cozy debut this author has all  the right elements that make this book so enjoyable to read. I look forward to the next in series with anticipation. . Thank you for the ARC which does not influence my review. I highly recommend this new series for all who enjoy a great sleuth amid fun characters and a humor throughout. 

This is the story of Alberta Ferrara Scaglione who is in her 60'S. . She has been named the  heir in her Aunt Carmela’s will and  with  a lot  of money, has inherited a lake house at her childhood vacation spot. Alberta  loves her new home in Tranquility, New Jersey. Her childhood enemy who is  Lucy Agostino, is found murdered on her property. Alberta and her reporter granddaughter, Jinx, decide to work together and investigate . When they add Alberta’s sister and sister-in-law to the team, it becomes the Golden Girls and they are a fun determined group who want to solve this murder so Alberta can move on with her life.. The antics of the group are fun to read and I like all the ladies as their friendship is solid . 

Murder on Memory Lake is a well written and fun entertaining debut to a new series It was delightful to read and I look forward to the next in series. If your a fan of the Golden Girls you will love this book. The sleuth is surprisingly full of twist and turns, the location is sublime and the characters are fun and all add to the story. Very well done debut !
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Murder on Memory Lake was funny and creative with unique characters that kept me turning the pages.

Four charming Italian women come together to solve the crime of Alberta’s arch-enemy’s murder. Would you do that? Solve the murder of someone you hated? These ladies were gutsy and fun to spend time with. There were some good twists to keep me guessing, but mostly I enjoyed spending time with these lovely ladies. If you’re a fan of The Golden Girls (like me) and Nancy Drew (also, like me) then you’ll truly enjoy this entertaining read. I’m already looking forward to the next installment.
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Murder on Memory Lake by J. D. Griffo is the first book in Ferrara Family Mystery series, and an enjoyable book.  Alberta is shocked to learn that she inherited not only a lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey, but also everything else her aunt owned.  When a body is found in Memory Lake, Alberta, her granddaughter Jinx, sister Helen, and sister-in-law Joyce set out to solve the mystery.  Jinx is a reporter, who is looking for a break on a big case.   I found this book very interesting, and full of colorful characters.  Not only is there a good mystery, the plot and characters are well developed.  I recommend this book, and am looking forward to reading their next adventure.  

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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At age 64, Alberta Ferrara Scaglione has a new lease on life. She has been named the sole heir in her Aunt Carmela’s will and along with a large sum of money, has inherited a lake house at her childhood vacation spot. Alberta is optimistic for the first time in her life and loves her new home in Tranquility, New Jersey. However, her own tranquility is spoiled when her childhood nemesis, Lucy Agostino, is found murdered on her property. Alberta and her reporter granddaughter, Jinx, decide to work together and investigate Lucy’s death. When they add Alberta’s sister and sister-in-law to the team, nothing can stop this determined group of women from solving the crime.

Murder on Memory Lake is a well-written, entertaining debut to a new series. It’s great to see an older and younger woman investigating due as the main characters. adding in Alberta’s sister, Helen, and sister-in-law, Joyce, to help them get to the truth adds to the fun. The author does a great job of portraying Italian-American Alberta realistically. The book is filled with quirky characters, but they’re never so over-the-top as to come off as ridiculous instead of humorous. Alberta notices the details, which is how she knew Lucy’s death was a murder before the professional investigators did. Alberta’s granddaughter is full of energy and ambition and I love that the investigation gives her a chance to reconnect with her grandmother. Alberta, Jinx, Helen, and Joyce make an unexpected, but clever and quick-thinking, team of amateur detectives. None of the women are afraid to go undercover when necessary to get information about the case and their adventures are fun to read.

The part of the plot related to a stolen collection belonging to the victim is a little silly, but fits with the light tone of the book. Overall, the book is even-paced and enjoyable to read. Fans of Laura Levine or of Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato & DiNunzio series will want to get to know Alberta and the rest of the Ferrara family detectives.

~ Christine
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A pleasant cozy mystery. A diverse group of four Italian ladies decide they must solve a murder. The writing flowed nicely, but I wasn't totally engaged with the characters. Too easy for me to put down and return later. I will try the next one in this new series.
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Tranquility, New Jersey is one lakeside community proving to be anything but peaceful for new resident, Alberta Scaglione...

Having recently inherited a lakeside home from an unexpectedly wealthy relative, Alberta Scaglione is welcomed by chaos and confusion--not to mention the body of her lifelong fenemy, Lucy Agostino, practically floating before her doorstep. Begrudgingly, Alberta pairs up with her ambitious and spirited journalist granddaughter, Jynx, to get an exclusive scoop regarding the ongoing investigation. The Scaglione duo are quirky and spirited women who are determined to peel back the layers of Lucy's curious death. Murder on Memory Lake is the first installment in a series boasting familial relationships, humour, an age-diverse band of characters and classic Italian recipes throughout.

I would recommend Griffo's Murder on Memory Lake to readers who are looking for a series that successfully marries humour and intrigue. Also, readers must be willing to suspend disbelief to fully appreciate this story, as the plot and characterization is riddled with outlandish, outrageous qualities that may not resonate with readers looking for crime fiction grounded in realism.
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Welcome to the wonderfully oddball world of the Ferrara Family Detective Agency. The members are Alberta (grandmother to Jinx and sister to Helen) Jinx, a budding reporter, Aunt Helen (a former nun, not to be messed with) and Aunt Joyce, the black Italian sister-in-law and ex-wife to Helen and Alberta's brother Ant. Put them together and watch out. 
Alberta has inherited her aunt's house on Memory Lake in a small town called Tranquillity. All she wants to do is sit and enjoy her retirement while soaking in the view of the lake from her front porch. That is, until she sees a body floating in the lake and it turns out to be her old childhood nemesis, Lucy. The police call it an accident but not so fast says Alberta. Having known the dead woman, Alberta sees clues that the police dismiss. Well that starts the first case, one of many, I hope, for the Ferrara Family Detective Agency.
As this is the first in a series, there is a lot of backstory to learn so the pace isn't as fast as it may be in future books. The humor is laugh out loud funny and the mystery is solid. At times it's a little like Lucy and Ethel and sometimes a bit like the Golden Girls. I would love to spend time with this group of women. They have learned how to grab life and dance like nobody is watching. They were a joy to meet and I'm looking forward to seeing what they get involved with next.
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"Murder on Memory Lake" is about a woman (Alberta) who inherits a lake house from her aunt. Right after she moves in she discovers a body floating on the lake. It turns out she knew the woman from her you - and was not very fond of her - apparently someone else wasn't either. Alberta is estranged from her daughter, but is very close with her granddaughter, Jinx, and they decide they want to solve this mystery together. Of course, neither of them are detectives. With the help of Alberta's sister, Helen, and sister-in-law, Joyce, they make a pretty fearsome foursome. 

I really like the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter - it reminded me of the closeness I have with my own grandmother. The killer was on my suspect list, but it played out a lot differently than I thought it would - you'll just have to read this to understand what I mean. This book was a lot of fun and humorous - two of the women disguised themselves as nuns (one was actually a former nun) and Joyce seems to know everyone in the world who can help her out with little tidbits of information regarding this case. Again, no spoilers, so pick up this book. 

I will say that while I enjoyed this book, the narration was a little confusing at times. Sometimes different characters were narrating their own thoughts in the same paragraph as another character. This didn't take anything away from the content of the story, just my honest opinion. 

#MurderOnMemoryLake #NetGalley
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Alberta Scaglione is a senior who has given up hope. When her aunt dies, she inherits millions of dollars and a house on the shores of Memory Lake in Tranquility, New Jersey. Not long after she moves into the house, she finds a body in the lake, and not just any body. It’s the body of someone she knew in high school. Her sister, sister-in-law, and granddaughter, who wants to be a crime reporter, join her in trying to solve the crime.

The author used way too many stereotypes – a lawyer who talks like a 1950s Italian mafiosa, an Italian family who only communicates by screaming at one another, telling readers that Alberta was no spring chicken. I would have hoped the author’s editor would have discouraged Griffo from using tired stereotypes (and maybe he/she did and was ignored).

The author introduces way too many characters, not all of whom needed to be in this first book in the series. Alberta and her team leapt to too many conclusions with little or no reason to do so.

All in all, a shaky beginning to what might have been a really good idea for a series. Hopefully, the rest of the books in the series will be better written.
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Alberta, a mature woman, didn't expect to find a body floating in the lake in front of her newly inherited home (who does?) She teams up with her granddaughter Jinx to find out why Tranquility is not so tranquil.  This is the first entry in what's meant to be a series so there are a lot of characters to meet, including members of the boisterous Italian American family and Alberta's friends who will help her as well.  Some of this goes over the top, some of it could have been pared, but there are still some chuckles.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For those who want to start a new cozy series.
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