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Reviewed by Brenda Casto for Readers' Favorite
What is a girl to do when she finds her grandfather's dead body just hours before her favorite cousin's wedding? Well, that is just the predicament that Carlina Mantoni finds herself in just hours before her cousin Emma's wedding. The thing is, Emma is with her when they find their seventy-nine year old grandfather Nico dead sitting at his kitchen table. Thinking he died of natural causes Emma reasons that if they tell the family it will ruin her wedding and convinces Carlina that they should just put grandpa to bed and let everyone think that he passed away in bed later that night. The plan seemed as if it might work, until Nico's twin brother insists that something is awry, because his brother would never go to bed with his socks on, and insists on calling the police. What seemed like a run of the mill death quickly turns into a police investigation with Carlina and her family becoming prime suspects! Surely the death is from natural causes because who would want to murder grandpa?
"Delayed Death" is a cozy mystery that was often laugh out loud funny! It takes place in Florence, Italy, and the author sprinkles in just enough Italian dialect to give the story an authentic feel. The cast of characters, comprised of the Mantoni family, are totally off the wall. Eccentric seems almost a tame way to describe them! Ms. Boeker creates quirky characters whose personalities just jump off the pages! Carlina's action concerning Nico's body had me wondering about her, but once I met the rest of her family I realized that she might just be the most normal one in the bunch! Even though grandpa Nico was dead the author allows his character to play a big part in the story. We learn about several of his odd eccentricities such as eating cat treats for a snack because he thought they were healthy! Most of the family lived in separate apartments in the same house which made for a very interesting setting. Beate Boeker does a fabulous job of describing this unique living situation, allowing me to easily visualize the various apartments, and the way the family was always around! Stefano Garini, the detective assigned to investigate the case, finds himself tossed into the midst of this odd family. The verbal sparring between Stefano and Carlina is often funny, and the electric undercurrent indicating attraction is certainly there. As Stefano interviews the various family members, family secrets are spilled and more than a few people are found to have had the motive to want grandpa dead. Several twists make this a great who-dun-it murder mystery, and the quirky members of the Mantoni family provide several laughs which makes "Delayed Death" a page turning cozy mystery that left me wanting to read more from this author.