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Basil Instinct: Miracolo Mysteries    by Shelley Costa order for
Basil Instinct
by Shelley Costa
Order:  USA  Can
Pocket, 2014 (2014)
Paperback, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Basil Instinct is the second of Shelley Costa's cozy mysteries featuring Chef Eve Angelotta and her cousin Landon. Their grandmother Maria Pia owns Miracolo, an Italian restaurant in NYC. Once head chef, she has retired but haunts the restaurant nightly for a chance to sing Three Coins in the Fountain to late night customers - regardless of the fact that she is almost tone deaf.

Nevertheless, Eve and Landon leap to her every command and watch over her well-being. Several weeks prior to the opening pages of this funny novel, Maria Pia's boyfriend was murdered. What they really didn't need now is for Eve to discover the sous chef's very dead body near the front door. As there is a big night coming up, Eve feels they just can't accept police intervention. The night is to honor Maria Pia and Eve won't have her grandmother disappointed.

After Eve moves the body, what ensues is the sous chef moving from one hiding place to another as though by her own locomotion.

You Cannoli Die Once, the maiden book of this series, had a very amusing plot. It introduced readers to what might transpire in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant (barring the incidental murders), as well as portraying the dynamics of an Italian family. One of my sons-in-law is Italian and I can recognize the fierce family loyalties. All good.

I did feel that some of the humor in this second novel in the series was strained and possibly a little too much on stage at almost every turn. However, Basil Instinct was still good reading.

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