The town of Harvest Lake has united for the annual Festival of Lights, a fundraising event for a different local nonprofit each year.
Only one ingredient makes things less than merry— Mario Russo, a newcomer to the town and owner of the Espresso Lane whose new coffee shop is stealing business from the beloved Java Time by undercutting their prices.
The business owners of the community are unhappy when the mayor’s office selects Mario to play Santa when the usual Father Claus is struck down with the flu.
No one expects Mario to be stabbed the first night of the Festival of Lights—or for Archie Fenton, owner of Java Time to be arrested for his murder. Archie has always taken care of Tessa and her cousins, Gabby and Gino.
Although a respected entrepreneur and chef at her restaurant Anything’s Pastable, Tessa began amateur sleuthing fourteen months ago when her husband died in a car fire. Confident of Archie’s innocence, she and Gabby begin an investigation of their own, to the chagrin of Gino, the detective in charge of the case.
Tessa identifies a plethora of suspects—business owners Mario wronged, two shady men who arrived the day Mario died, lovers he mistreated, and husbands of women he was seeing. Even her assistant chef acts suspicious. Tessa doesn’t have much time to find the killer to ensure that Christmas in Harvest Lake isn’t stolen by the grinch of a criminal.
The Enemy You Gnocchi (Third in the Italian Chef Mystery series) by Catherine Bruns was published in October, but I read it yesterday to celebrate Christmas. It’s a satisfying, solid cozy mystery with a touch of romance. I love the cover which features Tessa’s tuxedo cat, Luigi. Includes recipes!
I loved the relationship between cousins Tessa and Gabby, the shenanigans at the mayor’s office, and the final confrontation with the killer.
Remember to add to your reading list for next Christmas. In the meantime, you can catch up with the first two books!
Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press for an advanced reading copy of the book!