Murder on Memory Lake

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

The Ferrara Family Detective Agency is organized in this cozy debut featuring four women: Alberta; Jinx, her granddaughter and reporter for the Upper Sussex Herald; Helen, Alberta’s sister and a former nun; and Joyce, Alberta’s divorced sister-in-law.

The story begins with sixty-four-year old Alberta inheriting a house on Memory Lake from her Aunt Carmela.  Not long after moving in, Alberta discovers the body of Lucy Agostino floating in Memory Lake.  Reporter Jinx wants to solve the crime and enlists Alberta to help.  Before long Helen and Joyce are also up to their necks checking out clues.

Much of the action in this adventure borders on being over-the-top but the writing saves it because the four main characters are so easy to like and fun to follow.  A few of the characters’ antics encourage laughing out loud.  There’s almost a screwball comedy feel to this mystery – let’s see where it goes in the next mystery.
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Prepare to suspend belief. The characters are vividly drawn and often their activities are outlandish or so outrageous as to be unbelievable. Nevertheless, they are easy to fall in love with and you find yourself caught up in whatever they are doing at the moment, hoping it all turns out to the good. The mystery, or perhaps it’s solution, borders on the absurd at times, and yet you find yourself wondering if you have drawn the correct conclusions. If so, you may be able to determine “who done it” before it is revealed, always a plus for mystery readers.

	The book opens with Alberta learning she is the recipient of a fortune from a spinster aunt who no one knew had money. She moves into the house the aunt owned on Memory Lake and settles down to a quiet, peaceful light. Peaceful until one morning she sees a body floating in the lake that turns out to be an old highschool nemesis. Only Alberta understand that Lucy has been murdered, at least until the autopsy shows that she was stabbed.

	Out of a desire to create a relationship and memories with her granddaughter, Jinx, Alberta joins forces with her to solve the mystery. Enter Helen and Joyce, sister and former sister-in-law of Alberta, respectively, to take part in the ensuing adventures. Turns out each woman brings a bit of special knowledge or ability that helps further the solution for “who done in”.

	Along the way we meet characters we would love to see again, like Sloane the librarian and Vinnie, the chief of police among others. We also find ourselves caught up in the activities, much as if we are watching a comedic play or a television sitcom where we can see the activities and, if we thought about it we would know they were absurd to the point of unbelievability, but we don’t care. The women are so loveable and the villain(s) so laughably wicked, we are too caught up in reading to worry about the possibility that this would ever happen in real life.

	One negative for me, the sprinkling of Italian phrases throughout the book. It slowed down the reading as I worked to try and interpret the phrase, even though within a few lines it would be explained. If the reasoning for this addition was to create an atmosphere where the reader could “see” the loud, excited behavior of the characters, it wasn’t necessary. That was evident in most of the conversations/arguments between the sisters and in their approach to solving the mystery.

	The oher slight negative for me, the resolution went on a bit long, almost as if new hiccups were being thrown in because the book hadn’t quite it’s required number of words. Still, it was well written enough to pull me through to the end without resorting to “skimming” the last few pages.

	Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you want to read something for pure entertainment and laughter, this may just be what you want. If you are looking for a more serious murder, one you can see as possibly happening in the world around you, this may not be your cup of tea.
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Murder on Memory Lake is the first book in Ferrara Family Mystery series.

Alberta, sixty something widow inherits a house on Memory lake when her aunt passes away. Little town by the name of Tranquility turns out not to be so tranquil when dead body of Alberta's childhood nemesis is found floating in the lake. And it turns out that she was murdered.
Then her estranged grandaughter Jinx shows up on her doorstep on the same day. She suggest to Alberta that they should investigate the murder together.
It is slow going at the beginning, familiarizing readers with Alberta's family relations, her friends and establishing the setting. Later on it picks up the pace.
I especially enjoyed close relations of the family, quirkiness of each characters and the fanny moments.
Dialogue is natural, story has many twists and turns and more than a few red herrings.
Fun, light and entertaing read.
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It was a very enjoyable and fun read and I laughed loud a lot of time. I look forward to reading further instalment in this series.
This book is a page turner, it's a bit slow at the beginning but when it starts going it's fast paced and full of funny situations.
I loved the realistic description of the family and the Italians involved in the plot. It's not easy to describe and Italian family in a humorous way without turning everything into a caricature.
There's a mix of mystery and women's fiction and I appreciated the tender look on the characters.
The plot is sound, no plot hole, and it kept me guessing till the end.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for this ARC
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Alberta Scaglione is a single grandmother who finds herself the sole heir of her recently deceased aunt who kept some secrets about her wealth. Moving into her aunt’s house on the lake, Alberta settles in and learns how to relax on the deck as she watches the sun set on the lake...until one day she finds the body of her long time nemesis, Lucy. Only Alberta realizes that Lucy must have been murdered.  

Nemesis or not, Alberta’s newly returned granddaughter talks her into solving the murder.  With the help of Alberta’s sister and sister in law, the four women begin their sleuthing.  As is typical in an Italian family from Jersey, everyone seems to be connected and this story is no different.  Being a Jersey gal myself, I really enjoyed the dynamics among the women.  

As the first book in a new series, I can’t wait to see the author develop the characters further and see what they get themselves into next.
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Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo is the first book of the new cozy Ferrara Family Mystery series. And what a creative beginning to a cozy mystery this was with the sleuthing actually becoming a family affair.

Alberta Scaglione is a sixty something widow who couldn’t believe the news she received that her aunt had left everything in her will to Alberta including her house on Memory Lake in Tranquility, New Jersey. Her aunt had been a spinster and sort of the black sheep of the family but being in a big Italian family Alberta didn’t expect to be singled out.

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 Alberta insists there was a murder and the police are reluctant to believe her Jinx suggests they make crime solving a family affair.

Murder on Memory Lake is a cozy mystery but it’s almost as if it’s combined with a contemporary about a crazy Italian family. Not only did we have Alberta and her granddaughter but Alberta’s sister Helen and sister in law Joyce so believe me this group could have some crazy moments together. There probably could have been some more sleuthing going on to really tighten up the mystery side but what the heck, I liked the characters so I’m still going four stars on this one.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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The first of a new series and new author for me and has a unique plot. I found this book hard to rate. I finally gave 3 stars but would have given it 3.5 stars, if I could. I found it difficult to bones with the characters. The text did flow easily. I felt The characters need more development. The ending is no surprise.
An elderly senior, Alberta Scaglione has inherited a cottage from her Aunt. The house is located on the banks of a man-made lake called Memory located in Tranquility, New Jersey. Shortly after moving into the cottage, she located a body floating in the Lake. With her niece, Alberta forms a detective agency to solve the case. Alberta goes undercover as a Secretary to former high school friend. Will this group of women be able to clear Alberta's name before she is arrested? I recommend this book.
Italian recipes are included.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Kensington Books for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Unique Mystery
3.5 Stars
Murder on Memory Lake is the debut book in J.D. Griffo’s Ferrara Family Mystery series.  The book starts slow, but picks up momentum and the cast of quirky characters add humor to the storyline.  There aren’t any gratuitous adult situations or graphic violence in this unique mystery, but there is adult language.  

When Alberta Ferrara Scaglione’s aunt passed away, she’s shocked not only to learn she owned a house, and had cash and stocks, but also that she’s the sole beneficiary.  Alberta moves into the house on Memory Lake in Tranquility, New Jersey with her cat, Lola, and is enjoying the beauty of the area, but it isn’t long before she finds the body of her nemesis, Lucy Agostino, floating in the lake.  The local authorities don’t suspect foul play, but Alberta is convinced Lucy was murdered.  Gina “Jinx” Maldonado, her granddaughter who aspires to be an investigative journalist, convinces Alberta to help her investigate.  Alberta’s sister, Helen, a nun who recently left the convent, and their sister-in-law, Joyce, join them as they stumble through their rather clumsy but productive sleuthing.  The group begins calling themselves The Ferrara Family Detective Agency.  They find themselves in unique situations and even place themselves in harms’ way.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
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This was a most unusual book.  Had a hard time with some of the characters and storyline.  Not one of my favorite reads, but could be enjoyable to some.
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Posted on Goodreads:  I read this book courtesy of NetGalley.  This light cozy has Italian women begin their own unofficial family detective agency.  Alberta finds her lifelong nemesis floating in the lake and knows right away that her death is murder.  The police are unconvinced until the autopsy results and while they investigate so does Alberta.  Joining her are her granddaughter Jinx, sister Helen and sister-in-law Joyce.  The family conversations, card games & flavored vodka provide quite a bit of entertainment.  Their clumsy, but successful sleuthing is secondary to the characters.  This is the first of a series that should prove to be entertaining.
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I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, atmosphere, and characters.  I would recommend the book to friends and family for their reading pleasure.
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I found difficult to connect with cast of characters at times, but I enjoyed the mysterious elements woven into the story-line as well as the beautiful descriptions of Memory Lake.
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I really enjoyed this cozy story. A great cast of characters, a solid mystery, and a well-drawn setting combine to create a fun little book. I would recommend this to cozy enthusiasts and will certainly look for more in this series.
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If you enjoy cozy mysteries with an older protagonist, a cast of Italian characters and more quirkiness than suspense then you will enjoy Murder on Memory Lake. I found difficult to connect with cast of characters at times, but I enjoyed the mysterious elements woven into the story-line as well as the beautiful descriptions of Memory Lake.
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I was disappointed with this book.  It just didn't live up to the description in the blurb. I would not read further books in the series.
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This book was an absolute joy to read. I loved the characters. Being Italian I could totally relate!
The plot held my interest and I found the story flowed.
I can't wait for the next installment in the series.
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This is an enjoyable cozy mystery with a great sense of humor and an amazing cast of quirky characters.  Alberta is a 60ish widow who has led a rather quiet, uneventful life when she finds out that her elderly aunt has left her a beautiful lake house in the community she had visited for vacations as a child.  She moves into the house and soon is confronted with the dead body of Lucy, her childhood enemy floating on the lake in front of her new home.  Egged on by her journalist granddaughter Jinx  in search of a scoop and her sisters Helen and Joyce she begins to investigate who wanted Lucy dead.  This was a fun cozy mystery with a large, loud Italian family that will keep you entertained all the way through.
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