Too much togetherness spells disaster for these thirty-something sisters vacationing in Italy. When glamorous Margo opts for a steamy romance in Florence, plain-Jane Ellen travels alone to their next destination, a charming hillside villa at La Spezia. The owner Lorenzo, a mysterious widower, insists on showing Ellen around Cinque Terre, five picturesque villages overlooking the Ligurian Sea. Ellen is determined to experience the local culture but instead encounters intrigue in Monterosso el Mare where gypsies are turning up dead faster than Lorenzo can show her the sights. Then Margo arrives, and soon discovers her own life is in danger.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Numerous trips to Italy and my love for the Cinque Terre area on the Mediterranean Sea.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I always wanted my own sister so I gave myself two very different sisters to play off each other.
“Hold on to your cup,” Margo said. She peered at me from over the rim of a cappuccino frothed to the perfection we’d come to expect from any coffee bar in Florence. “I’ve fallen in love again, this time with an Egyptian mummy.”
I responded with a blank look I knew Margo would ignore and was not disappointed when she did.
“I just couldn’t help myself,” Margo went on. “From the moment we made visual contact, a burning passion ignited the very depths of my soul. I shivered like a schoolgirl when he wrapped those muslin arms around me.”
“Oh-h, you mean that mime who works the steps of The Uffizi, the mime I tipped five euros so he’d go into his slow motion routine.” I stifled a yawn. “What an incredible photo op; can’t wait to print those awesome poses.”
Margo expelled an exasperated sigh as only she could. “Don’t be catty, little sister. As you well know, Giorgio is a performance artist, the best in all of Firenze.”
“Which accounts for your staying out until three in the morning,” I said in a tone smacking dangerously close to our mother’s. Although I doubt Mom would’ve referred to Florence as Firenze. But for sure she would’ve said this: “The least you could’ve done was to call.”
“And wake you up, please. Give me some credit. Besides, isn’t that why we’re touring the land of our ancestors, to connect with the macho Italiani?”
“Also to absorb the Italian culture, you may recall. While you were connecting with the greatest performance artist in all of Florence, I honored our appointment at The Uffizi and breezed through every room, inwardly gushing over masterpieces most people only dream of seeing.” I paused to catch my breath, moved in closer to Margo. “Then after perusing the outdoor sculptures, I hurried to The Accademia before it closed and examined every inch of the real David.”
“Naughty, naughty,” Margo said. She clucked her tongue—also a trait of our mother. “Such dedication to marble and canvas, I’m sure all those sixth graders will be impressed by your upcoming travelogue. But a few days of sightseeing can’t begin to make a dent in the total Firenze experience, which brings me to a rather touchy subject: would you mind terribly if—”
“Don’t say it, Margo; don’t even think it.” I leaned back and held up my palms. “No way am I sacrificing our trip to Cinque Terre so you can explore the seductive mysteries of Florentine mummification.”
Margo assumed a dreamy gaze. “In that case you’ll just have to go without me.”
“You can’t be serious.” Without realizing it, I’d clenched my fingers into two angry fists, anything to keep my hands from wrapping around Margo’s skinny neck, my thumbs from digging into her throat. “What about our Mediterranean boat tour, those five villages resembling an artist’s palette, our train ride along the coast, and the multitude of quaint shops, our non-refundable reservations at that charming villa in La Spezia?”
“But you don’t understand,” Margo said. “How could you, considering your lack of … never mind.”
“Go ahead, say what you’re thinking. It’s not a crime, you know, and above all, not a sin. Technically, I’m still a virgin.”
“Technically, please. Three years in a convent was your idea of romance, not mine.”
“Nevertheless, I learned the importance of connecting with my inner self, an experience I consider invaluable.”
“One that stunted your sexual development, get real. You’re wrapped in a cocoon of frustrated repression.”
“I thought we were talking about Giorgio.”
“Right, Giorgio.” Margo leaned across the tiny table. “He lives in a fabulous apartment in the heart of Santa Croce and has assured me we will have the entire place to ourselves. Four glorious days, imagine that.”
“I’m trying to. What happens after that?”
Margo lifted her brow with another sigh. “His mother comes back from Vicenza.”
“Giorgio still lives with his mother?”
“Pu-lease, it’s the Italian way. The poor woman’s a lonely widow.”
“Who dotes on her only son, I suppose. How old is Mama’s Boy?”
“Not that age matters but if you must know: he’s twenty-eight.”
“How old,” I said.
“And how old does Giorgio think you are?”
“Me-ow.” Margo showed me her version of a cat pawing the air. “You may be younger, but everyone thinks I’m prettier. Sorry, El.”
What could I say? Margo the paralegal, Margo a cougar in the making but way too young, sometimes blonde and always tawny; she complains about her size four clothes being too roomy while I the frustrated librarian will forever be known as a convent dropout. Not to mention carrying the burden of my superior intellect, a fallacy perpetrated by our mother. A beautiful mind she often referred to me, long before the release of that movie by the same name. My beautiful mind also shelters a practical side, which explains why I insisted on meeting the real Giorgio, not his mummified alter ego.
I expected an argument. Instead, Margo opened our shared cell phone and punched in a series of numbers before showing me her back. I took the hint and distanced myself another twenty feet. The call must’ve ended on a positive note because she turned to me, a smug smile creeping across her face.
“Giorgio wants us to come over right away, before he prepares for his next performance. It’s a short walk from here, but first we have to stop at the market.”
“Don’t tell me he needs someone to fix his lunch.”
“I know, I know. It’s so Italian.”
About the Author:
Loretta Giacoletto was recently named a finalist in the 2014 “Soon to be Famous Illinois Author Project.” She divides her time between the St. Louis Metropolitan area and Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks where she writes fiction, essays, and her blog Loretta on Life while her husband cruises the waters for bass and crappie. Their five children have left the once chaotic nest but occasionally return for her to-die-for ravioli and roasted peppers topped with garlic-laden bagna càuda.
An avid traveler, Loretta has visited countries in Europe and Asia but Italy remains her favorite, especially the area from where her family originates: the Piedmont region near the Italian alps.
Her novels focus on characters caught up in problems of their own doing, crime often laced with romance that may not end happily-ever-after.
Links to Purchase Print Books
Link to Buy Italy To Die For: From the Savino Sisters Mystery Series Print Edition at Amazon
Link to Buy Italy To Die For: From the Savino Sisters Mystery Series Print Edition at Barnes and Noble
Link to Italy To Die For: From the Savino Sisters Mystery Series Print book for sale via at CreateSpace
Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy Italy To Die For: From the Savino Sisters Mystery Series On Amazon
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought!