It’s hard to describe a day in my life, because it’s anything but typical. For starters, I’m a PI for Private Chicks Inc. in New Orleans, which is Anglicized French for “highly unusual.” Plus, I live in a fourplex with my best friend and employer, Veronica Maggio, my sixty-something ex-stripper landlady, Glenda O’Brien, and her collection of stripper costumes (they occupy the fourth apartment, and trust me when I say that it’s for the best). To top it all off, we’re right across the street from a creepy cemetery, which often drives me to drink at the bar conveniently located next door.
What I can tell you is that things have changed since the last time I was on Dru Ann’s blog. I’m now in a relationship with Bradley Hartmann, that handsome bank president I told you about? At least, I think we’re in a relationship. His sexy new secretary, Pauline Violette, is doing her darnedest to drive us apart, and I’m playing right into her pernicious plan. How? Well, I drove my car into a swamp while I was secretly following them to one of their business meetings—which Pauline had scheduled at a bed and breakfast—and Bradley saw me! I’d tell you what happened next, but I can’t bear to relive it. Let’s just say that it involves horny alligators and a gun (don’t worry, the gators are fine, but I’m not so sure about Bradley).
The worst thing about the whole Pauline situation is that she’s got my meddling Sicilian grandma’s number. You see, my nonna is up to her usual antics, trying to get me married off before I turn 30 (I’m 29, which is apparently 45 in Italian years). Thankfully, she isn’t setting me up on dud dates with Sicilian suitors anymore, but she is planning my wedding—and Bradley hasn’t exactly popped the question yet. Bradley is blissfully oblivious to nonna’s scheme, but Pauline is patently aware of it. In fact, she’s threatening to tell Bradley all about our Machiavellian marriage, and I have no doubt she’ll finger me, and not my nonna, as the marital mastermind.
As anxious as I am about Pauline dropping that not-so-little bomb on my boyfriend, the truth is that I have bigger things to worry about, like my continued existence. This morning when I was buying a dozen beignets (for everyone at the office, that is) I ran into Chandra Toccato, the self-proclaimed “Crescent City Medium.” And believe you me, this psychic is psycho. The minute she saw me, her eyes rolled back in her head and she started vibrating. Then she claimed that a female spirit had done something terrible that had put me in danger. If all that wasn’t proof enough that this woman is wacko, “Toccato” is Italian for “touched,” as in “crazy.”
I’d just managed to escape the mad medium when Delta Dupré showed up at the office. She’s the executive director of Oleander Place, an antebellum sugar cane plantation, and a descendent of its founder, General Knox Patterson. Now, Delta might be descended from sugar, but she’s far from sweet. She has the manners of Maleficent, and she’s a dead ringer for Cruella De Vil. Unfortunately, Delta just hired Private Chicks to investigate the murder of Ivanna Jones, a beautiful cosmetics CEO who was found dead in the very same bed that General Patterson’s wife, Evangeline Lacour, was poisoned in almost two centuries ago. Oddly enough, Ivanna was clutching a bottle of pink lip gloss and wearing Evangeline’s pink crinoline dress!
Now, I’ll give you one guess who Veronica appointed lead investigator on the case. That’s right, me! Normally, I would be ecstatic to work a high-profile murder like this. But there is one teensy detail I haven’t told you about: Oleander House is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of General Patterson, Evangeline, and the pirate she cheated on him with—the notorious Beau the Black, who just happens to be the general’s brother. So, this is no Casper-the-Friendly-Ghost kind of haunting, y’all. These ghosts are freakin’ angry.
Of course, I don’t really believe in ghosts and psychics and all that. It’s just that where the supernatural is concerned, I make it my policy to be safe rather than sorry. And I’m more than a little spooked at the moment because it’s looking like that spirit the medium mentioned (you know, the one who managed to jeopardized my life?) is connected to this murder somehow.
Anyway, I’m on my way to the plantation to start the investigation. It’s going to be a piece of cake.
You can read more about Franki in Prosecco Pink, the second book in the “Franki Amato” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. Books are available at online booksellers.
For Franki Amato, life in New Orleans is anything but “The Big Easy.” When she met handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, she knew she’d finally found a man she could trust. But she can’t say the same for his sexy new secretary, who is about as trustworthy as Mata Hari and every bit as seductive. Meanwhile, Franki’s best friend and employer, Veronica Maggio, has named her the lead investigator in the murder of a gorgeous cosmetics CEO who was found lying dead in the master bedroom of a historic plantation home. Now the pressure is on Franki to figure out what a bottle of pink lip gloss and the legend of a pink diamond have to do with the bizarre killing. The problem is that the plantation is notorious for being haunted, and Franki is less than enthusiastic about the prospect of meeting a ghost. Adding to her stress, her Sicilian grandma is up to her usual meddling antics—this time planning Franki’s engagement to Bradley before he’s even considered popping the question. As Bradley grows distant and plantation employees begin dropping like Southern belles during a sweltering summer, Franki turns to a psychic with a phobia of ghosts to solve the mysterious murders and her own relationship fears.
GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon eastern on December 3, and you will be entered to win (winner’s choice) a copy of either the print OR digital version of PROSECCO PINK. Two winners will be chosen at random. Print copy U.S. only; otherwise open to everyone.
Meet the author
Traci Andrighetti is the author of the Franki Amato mystery series. In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a PhD in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is.
If she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Traci is probably watching her favorite Italian soap opera, eating Tex Mex or sampling fruity cocktails, and maybe all at the same time. She lives in Austin with her husband, young son (who desperately wants to be in one of her books) and three treat-addicted dogs.