Cover Image: Murder in Chianti

Murder in Chianti

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Member Reviews

So many reasons I loved this book, starting with the main character, our detective. Nico Doyle is a former New York City police homicide detective, forced to quit his job after he shows too much compassion to a victim of domestic violence by hiding evidence of the gun she used to murder her husband. A recent widower, he moves to his late wife's hometown in the Tuscany region of Italy. As the story opens, he's living quietly in an old farmhouse next to a vineyard, just trying to mind his own business. He hears what sounds like a gunshot, and goes to investigate. Well, of course he discovers a dead body, and we are off and running into one of the most enjoyable, intelligent mysteries I've read in a long time. Great supporting characters, particularly the chief of police and his young, inexperienced second in command. It's Tuscany, and wine country, so there's lots of food and wine to add to the pleasure of reading this terrific book. Apparently, this is the first of a series, and I can't wait to meet Nico Doyle again in another book.
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

I have discovered a fantastic new detective series!  Nico Doyle is a retired NYC homicide detective living in the Chianti region of Tuscany.  He's trying to rebuild his life after his beloved wife Rita dies of cancer.  He has no family other than his wife's cousin Tilde and her daughter Stella.  Half Irish and half Italian, Nico is something of a lost soul, trying to rebuild his life in a new country.  He spends his time helping his wife's cousin Tilde in her restaurant and creating new recipes.

Early one morning Nico encounters a gruesome scene in the woods after hearing a gun shot and a dog barking.  The victim had his face blown off and Nico knows not to get too close and disturb the crime scene.  He takes the stray dog (that had been hanging around his house) that alerted him home, thinking the dog could be evidence from the crime scene.  The police are called and Salvatore Perillo, Maresciallo dei Carabinieri is assigned the case.  He's from southern Italy and the northern Italians believe he's slow and not too bright.  He's also only investigated (and quickly solved) one murder case in his career.  With the assistance of Daniele, his deputy, he takes Nico's statement.  Perillo learns after a background check on Nico that he's a former NYC homicide detective, and probably much more capable of helping him solve the murder than Substitute Prosecutor Riccardo Della Langhe, the inept technocrat overseeing the case.  Nico agrees to help, but stay in the background and they begin trying to identify the murdered man, why he was in the woods in the early morning, why he was murdered and who murdered him.  

Nico adopts the stray dog and gives him the name OneWag (because he only wags his tail once), Perilla names the dog Rocco, claiming that OneWag translated into Italian is too much.  During the course of the investigation the murder victim is identified as Robert Gerardi, Italian by birth and a local, but a naturalized American citizen that owned a vineyard in the Napa Valley of California and was a wealthy man, but dying of cancer.  Once the victim has been identified there are a number of twists and leads that lead to multiple suspects (including Tilde).  Tilde has a fractious relationship with her mother-in-law Elvira, who rules the roost at the restaurant and frequently treats her daughter-in-law badly.  Tilde's husband Enzo loves his wife and daughter, but is dominated by his mother who often says that no woman is good enough for her son.

After suspecting, then eliminating several locals the killer is found and confesses.  I've read lots of detective stories and favorite authors include Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle and Donna Leon.  I will be looking forward to many more in this series from Camilla Trinchieri.  Nico Doyle is a fabulous character, complicated, flawed and honorable.  His community is filled with interesting and fun characters that don't come off as cartoonish and cliched, but real and fundamentally Italian.  The description of the town, the food and the Italian landscape clearly shows the love of the place and it's people.  The story give clues, but it's not obvious whodunnit too early in the story.

Note: As the case evolves there are numerous times that meals are taken, and being set in Italy , the food is amazing.  This is NOT a good story to read when you're hungry, and be prepared to go immediately to your kitchen (or call you local Italian restaurant for reservations or carryout) to try creating some of the mouthwatering food described.  You have been warned!
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A charming start to an entertaining (hopefully) series in Tuscany. The characters are interesting and the setting is charming. Trinchieri has the opportunity to create a good complement to the Guido Brunetti Venetian mysteries. Oh, and there's a dog! If you are looking for a retreat to a place where everything can be worked out over a series of amazing meals and great wines, you have found the right place.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC
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Set against the backdrop of languorous Tuscan village where nothing happens, this murder mystery is anything but sleepy. American expat Nico Doyle moves to his wife's childhood home following her death and his forced retirement from the NYPD. He establishes a quiet routine tucked away in the Italian countryside until a single shotgun blast brings it all to a screeching halt. At the urging of the local police, Doyle is drawn into helping them uncover two decades worth' of secrets hidden among the verdant grapevines of his adopted homeland.

Trinchieri artfully creates credible characters in a beautiful setting. "Murder in Chianti" is peppered with wonderful descriptions of the food, the people and the region without betraying the heart of the story: solving a crime in a way that is surprising yet believable.
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What a delightful weekend whodunnit and it was a wonderful escape for our troubling times.  Well plotted, the characters are so heartfelt, and then there is Onewag.  I so hope this becomes a massive hit with everyone, and I intend to tell everyone to put on the light, sit down with a large Chianti, and enjoy the mystery.   I can’t wait for the next one!
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