THE NAMESAKE, by Conor Fitzgerald

3/series with Commissario Alec Blume.American-born Italian murder squad cop Blume is not your average cop, he's unruly, untidy, single-minded, with incredibly poor people skills and an almost fatal (for Italy) sense of honesty. This time, however, Blume may have gone too far. His friendship with court magistrate Matteo Arconti leads him into a Ndraghetta-spawned plot with more layers than an Italian sfogliatelle  (pictured at right for your edification). In the toe of Italy's boot, this secretive mafia/camorra-type criminal organization is intimately involved with nearly every aspect of life, and has spread its tentacles north of the Alps as well. Click below for more..

DINNER WITH EDWARD, by Isabel Vincent

A charmer of a memoir about the author's long dinner relationship and growing friendship  with an elderly neighbor, Recently-widowed, his reason for living gone, Edward makes a comeback by cooking gourmet dinners for his new, troubled, neighbor. And, from time to time, a variety of friends he's made as he searches New York's gourmet food emporiums (not those you'd first think of) for the perfect ingredients. But it's about much more than food: Edward serves up lessons in living a meaningful life to a woman whose own life has gone sideways. A small, short read of significance; good things do indeed come in small packages. This could make a nice stocking stuffer for a foodie friend.
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THE MISTRESSES OF CLIVEDEN, by Natalie Livingstone

Three centuries separated the founding of Cliveden by the scandalously high-living Charles Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and the Profumo Affair, the less-sordid-than-portrayed sex scandal that brought down a government. But those eras were filled with excitement, intrigue and power struggles.Set on a bluff overlooking the Thames, and a mere five miles from Windsor Castle, the imposing Italianate building has always been part of the power structure of England. Click below for more...


THE MEMORY KEY, by Conor Fitzgerald

4/series starring irascible Commissario Alex Blume. Winter in Rome is no joke, and Alex Blume is called out on a freezing night to the murder of a pleasant young women, shot in the head in what appears to be an assassin-style killing. Previously, another woman had been shot, this one an ageing terrorist who, many years before, had arranged a train station bombing that killed 80 people. The terrorist, miraculaously, survives, but the bullet took out her memory, both past and present. Is the young woman's death connected with the murder attempt? They must be: it's the same type of bullet. Click below for more...

BITTER REMEDY, by Conor Fitzgerald

5/series, with irascible, bull-headed Commissario Alec Blume. Estranged from work, girlfriend Caterina, and new daughter, Blume has signed on for a course in healing through flowers. The course is cancelled at the last minute and Blume, with nothing else to do but return to his disastrous apartment on the edge of Rome, stays. A Romanian lap dancer has vanished; Blume's landlady is a feisty 90+ year old countess, the flower expert is a slightly flaky but very pretty girl whose father saves Blume when he accidentally ingests some toxic seeds. Click below for more...