Tag Archives: Traci Andrighetti

A day in the life of Cassidi Conti by Traci Andrighetti

Hey, y’all! I’m Cassidi Conti, and I own a beauty salon in Danger Cove, Washington. It’s called The Clip and Sip, and the Victorian house it’s located in is also where I live with my makeup-artist cousin, Gia Di Mitri. Speaking of Gia, she’s on her way home from Christmas shopping, so I have to make this quick. Because when she’s around, no one gets a word in but her. Case in point, two years ago she stole my slot on Dru’s blog!

Before I tell you about my day, let me give you some backstory. From 1860 until 1955, the Victorian I own was a brothel for local lumberjacks, that is, until their wives set it on fire. Forty years later, my uncle Vincent Conti restored the building and ran a salon on the first floor. Uncle Vinnie was a ladies’ man who tended to more than his clients’ coiffures. And sadly, I think that’s what got him murdered, although I still don’t know for sure.

Since my uncle left me the property in his will, I’ve worked hard to restore the reputation of our family and the business. But every time my back is turned, someone reminds me of the Victorian’s past. The latest incident happened the other night. Right before The Clip and Sip’s holiday open house, someone sabotaged my rooftop sleigh display by replacing Santa’s toys with sex dolls.

Oh my gosh, I think I smell something burning upstairs. Hold on, okay? I’ll just be a second.

Yo, yous guys! Gia here. Don’t worry about the smoke smell. Between you and me, I burned an eyeliner pencil to sidetrack Cassidi for a few minutes. I don’t know why that girl thinks she’s the protagonist of this story, when it’s as plain as the nose on Rudolph the reindeer’s face that it’s me.

Anyway, I heard Cassidi telling you about our sleigh saboteur. I’m convinced that the culprit was a rival salon owner who blew in from L.A. six months ago and stole our clients. Her name is Ivy Li, and like the comic book character, she’s pure poison.

The subject of poison brings me to the point of this post. Recently, a mysterious woman came to town, and yesterday she had a manicure at Ivy’s salon, which, by the way, looks like a Greek version of Versailles. And after the woman’s nails had dried, she went outside and keeled over near the gold-breast-plated statue of Athena guarding the door, and she died.

But here’s the kicker. Cassidi and I got a note from the killer saying that the woman’s death was our fault. Of course, since she dropped dead at Ivy’s salon, how could it have been us? As it turns out, there is a way, and it has to do with Poison Poinsettia nail polish and a bottle of peach liqueur.

And the nightmare doesn’t end there. The killer also said that Cassidi and I are next on his list, and he doesn’t mean the one he’s sending to Santa. So we have to find out who this maniac is.

Or our Christmas could be canceled—for good.


You can read more about Cassidi in A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur, the second book in the “Danger Cove Hair Salon” mystery series.

It’s Christmas in Danger Cove, and all Cassidi Conti wants is clients. A rival salon owner has come to town and stolen The Clip and Sip’s business. Her holiday hopes go south, however, after someone sexes up the sleigh display at her open house, and an incident from the past makes the paper. Luckily, her tough talkin’ Texan aunt rides to her rescue, and she’s madder ‘n The Grinch in a gift shop. But when a nail client drops dead at her rival’s salon, and the killer sends unseasonal greetings to The Clip and Sip, Cassidi wonders whether an entire Texas cavalry could save her from the impending disaster. She has to act fast to figure out who the manicure murderer is, or her Noël could be nixed—forever.

Buy Link

# # # # # # # # # # #

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win copy of A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur, either Kindle/Nook (open to everyone) or print (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. The giveaway will end November 28, 2017. Good luck everyone!

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Traci Andrighetti is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Franki Amato Mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon Mysteries. 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. Visit Traci at traciandrighetti.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Christmas with Cozy Mystery Characters by Gin Jones

cozyshortsFranki Amato from “Rosolio Red” by Traci Andrighetti
Ciao, y’all. Franki Amato here, coming at you for Christmas from The Crescent City. Because my best friend and boss, Veronica, is giving me time off from my PI job at Private Chicks, I’m staying in NOLA instead of going home to Houston for the holidays. What I’m not planning to do—watch my landlady, Glenda, dance in the senior stripper revue “Let It Show, Let It Show, Let It Show” at Madame Moiselle’s on Bourbon Street. What I am planning to do—cook up a special present for my sugarplum, Bradley (hint: It’s not a fruitcake!). Anyway, my mom’s calling, so I’ve gotta run. I sure hope everything’s okay with the family . . .

Aunt Stella from “Christmas, Spies & Dead Guys” by Jennifer Fischetto
Since I’ve been dead, I can’t enjoy the holidays like I used to. No more extra spiced eggnog or my sister’s awful, mushy asparagus. I guess the last one is a plus. I don’t mind too much though. Now I get my jollies in other ways. Like hiding the silverware right before dinner or putting rocks in my brother-in-law’s stocking. It’s the little things that make this ghost chuckle.

Amy Ridley from “Christmas Canapés & Sabotage” by Janel Gradowski
I’m Amy Ridley. I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life, so I’ve dealt with lots of cold weather. One of my favorite ways to stay warm is with a mug of hot chocolate. One of the simplest ways to make this yummy treat is to warm milk over low heat then stir in chunks of chocolate candy bars, like Hershey or Dove, until melted. You can customize it by adding in things like cinnamon, vanilla extract, a shot of espresso or even a bit of rum. Pour into a mug and enjoy!

Ambrose Tate from “A (Gingerbread) Diorama of Death” by Gin Jones
Call me Tate. I’m a retired lawyer, although my landlord Helen Binney keeps ignoring the “retired” part of it, dragging me into murder investigations. I’ve been thinking about inviting her to Christmas dinner with my extended family. Otherwise, I’ll spend the whole day worrying that she’ll get herself into trouble. On the other hand, I have to consider whether she’ll bring that trouble with her. Most people could safely enjoy a holiday event, but Helen couldn’t even judge a gingerbread house contest recently without almost getting herself killed. Maybe I could hire a bodyguard. Not for her. For my family.

Jamie Winters from “Motion for Mistletoe” by Kelly Rey
My daily life doesn’t change all that much during the holiday season. It’s still glamour all the time: traffic jams, layaway, and to-do lists. Especially to-do lists, memorializing things I’ll never find time to do or money to buy, or even my most heartfelt wishes, like a driver’s license for Maizy or a laundry accident that leaves Curt shirtless. Maybe it’s not my heart involved in that one.

Christmas wishes are the granddaddy of them all, and my wish this year especially is for peace, for you and yours, and for everyone. Happy holidays.

Bronwyn Sinclair from “Sleighed at Castle Rock” by Anne Marie Stoddard
Hey, y’all–Bronwyn Sinclair here with a major case of the humbugs. Amelia is out of town, and I’m helping Kat run a Christmas themed music festival and Battle of the Bands competition at Castle Rock–in July. My elf costume is itchy, the eggnog is curdling, and now someone’s slipped mistletoe in one of the judge’s drinks. It looks like it’s up to me to catch the culprit and send them jingle bell rockin’ all the way to jail before the festival is ruined. What would Ame and Kat do without me?

Barb Jackson from “The Blonde Before Christmas,” by Anna Snow
I’m Barb Jackson. Christmas is my favorite time of the year, the snow, the decorations, giving gifts, murder. . .

Okay, so the murder part isn’t exactly part of Christmas, but when you’re a private investigator, you never know what’s going to pop up of any given day. It just so happens that last Christmas, my best friend Kelly and I discovered the dead body of the local mall Santa. Let me tell you, that was one case I’ll never forget. . .

Tessie King from “Baby It’s Cold Outside” by T. Sue VerSteeg
Holidays are always shared with family. Unless I find myself frozen, quite literally, in my work. A raging ice storm and a packed house of cranky patrons stuck with me at the Royal Palace wasn’t exactly how I’d pictured my first Christmas at the helm. There just weren’t enough apple-tinis to go around. I was at least comforted to know that my BFFs were stuck with me, along with one hot, handsome snowboarder. Plans for a festive party to thaw out the frozen Christmas spirit get shoved to the backburner when someone tries to kill me by locking me outside in the storm. I suddenly found myself hot on the trail, you know, once I was able to move again. Was it wrong that I found a silver lining when the ruckus brought the hunky Fed back to town? Enjoy an apple-tini for us! Or two.


Cozy Christmas Shorts is a holiday short story collection, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, September 2016.

Eleven holiday themed cozy mystery short stories by New York Times, USA Today, and National Bestselling authors! Short holiday bites perfect for enjoying while waiting in holiday lines or binge-reading over a cup of hot cocoa.

**The authors are donating a portion of proceeds from this collection to Toys for Tots!**

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the authors
Traci Andrighetti is an enthusiast of luscious Italian liqueurs, risqué Italian recipes, and embarrassing family encounters, all of which informed the writing of her holiday story.

Jennifer Fischetto writes while staring at the multi-colored lights on her tree and envisioning snarky ghosts.

Janel Gradowski has spent almost every Christmas Eve stuffing herself with holiday treats at her family’s Christmas parties. The experiences provided some of the inspiration for her story

Gin Jones loves gingerbread, mysteries and cold weather, all of which inspired her holiday story.

Kelly Rey loves the first snow and the coziness of a long winter evening spent by the faux fireplace with a good book.

Anne Marie Stoddard loves holiday music and drinking cranberry mojitos that aren’t poisoned with mistletoe. Like Bronwyn, she hates itchy elf costumes and curdled egg nog.

Anna Snow is a wife, mom, lipstick junkie, and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Barb Jackson Mysteries.

T. Sue VerSteeg absolutely loves the glisten of fresh snow on Christmas morning. But it needs to be gone by the next day and replaced by sand, sun, and 80 degree temps. A Midwestern girl can dream, right?

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of your choice of any one book published by Gemma Halliday Publishing and written by one of the Cozy Christmas Shorts authors. The giveaway ends December 25, 2016. Good luck everyone!

Franki Amato’s Back in Big Trouble in The Big Easy by Traci Andrighetti

Amaretto Amber“Ciao, y’all. You’ll never guess where I am—in the dressing room at Madame Moiselle’s strip club on Bourbon Street. Why? Well, you remember Glenda O’Brien, my sixty-something ex-stripper landlady?”

“How could they forget me, Miss Franki?” Glenda fluffed her apple-pastied breasts in her Stripper Snow White shirt. “I’m a lady legend down here in New Orleans.” She pulled a sewing needle from a bosom-shaped pincushion. “Now face forward so I can finish your costume.”

“Oh.” I turned back toward the mirror. “So Glenda’s sewing me into a costume, but Marilyn Monroe at JFK’s birthday I am not. Thanks to a run-in with a raging Russian during a bikini wax, I look more like a Mardi Gras tiger with mange.”

“That babushka’s got a bad attitude.” Glenda stuck the needle into the tiger-striped fabric at my bottom. “But tell them about Amber, sugar.”

“Okay.” I cast a cagey look at my backside. “Amber is a young woman who used to strip at Madame Moiselle’s. The manager found her onstage, but she definitely wasn’t dancing. Instead, she was dead in a claw-foot bathtub surrounded by a candle, some incense, and a bottle of amaretto. But that’s not the weird part.”

“Bestill your booty, sugar.” Glenda brandished a pair of scissors at my behind.

I gave her a pre-pounce glare while she clipped her sewing thread. “As I was saying, the crazy thing is that before she was killed, Amber stole a necklace made from a piece of the missing Amber Room— a priceless work of art that the Nazis took from Russia during World War II.”

“And that necklace belonged to one of my squirrel friends, Carnie Vaul.” Glenda pressed the Velcro closures at my hip.

“In case you’re not up on drag queen discourse,” I said, eyeing the Velcro, “squirrel friends are men who hide their nuts. And Carnie doesn’t just hide her nuts, she is nuts. In fact, if she hadn’t hired me to find her necklace and Amber’s killer, I’d suspect her of killing that poor girl.”

Glenda handed me a pair of purple-and-gold platform pumps emblazoned with the LSU tiger. “She’s a little tense, but it’s hard being a queen. Just ask Elizabeth Windsor.”

I smirked and began to work my foot into one of the six-inch shoes. “Anyway, Glenda’s my consultant on Amber’s case, and we have a lengthy list of suspects. Besides the raging Russian, there’s the club manager, a Texas oil baron, a stripper named Saddle, and a pimp-turned preacher. So, we’re setting a trap for the killer by billing me as Amber’s cousin, Tiger Eye, in tonight’s strip revue at Madame Moiselle’s.”

I grabbed Glenda’s shoulder for support as I climbed into the other shoe, and I saw a gleam in her eye. “Why are you looking at me like that? What have you done?”

“Coming to the stage,” the club DJ boomed over the sound system, “Tiger Eye, the late, great Amber’s porn star cousin.”

“Porn star?!” I spun around on Glenda like a wild animal on the hunt.

“Go catch the tiger by the tail, Miss Franki.” She shoved me onto the stage.

I stumbled into the spotlight and caught sight of a tail she’d sewn onto my costume, and I had a sneaking suspicion that tiger she was talking about was me.


Amaretto Amber is the third book in the Franki Amato mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2016.

Private investigator Franki Amato has just turned thirty, and she feels anything but festive. For starters, she can’t have cake because she’s given up sweets, and one of her teeth is torturing her. To add insult to birthday injury, she has to investigate a surreal strip club homicide—with her sixtyish ex-stripper landlady. Then her Sicilian grandma crashes the New Orleans non-party and insists that she steal a lemon to land a husband. Unfortunately for Franki, the man she has in mind has his mind somewhere else, and their relationship seems to have soured. Adding to her troubles, she has to figure out what a missing amber pendant and a mysterious amaretto bottle have to do with the murder, not to mention why she’s being followed. When a second dancer goes down and a third is threatened, Franki turns to a weird witch to crack the case and cancel a curse before someone blows out her candles for good.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Traci Andrighetti is the national bestselling author of the Franki Amato mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries. 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 busy working on A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur, the forthcoming novels in her two series, then she’s probably still celebrating the news that Deadly Dye and a Soy Chai, the debut mystery in her Danger Cove Hair Salon series, is a finalist for the 2016 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

To keep in touch with Traci, be sure to sign up for her newsletter at her traciandrighetti.com or on her Facebook page.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Amaretto Amber. US entries, please. Five lucky winners will be selected. The giveaway will end August 5, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

A Day in the Life of Gia Di Mitri by Traci Andrighetti

Deadly Dye And A Soy ChaiYo, readers! My name is Gia Di Mitri, and I’m originally from Atlantic City, New Jersey, a.k.a. America’s Playground. But a few months ago I headed west to Danger Cove, Washington, to do makeup and nails at my step cousin Cassidi Conti’s hair salon, The Clip and Sip. And let me tell you, a playground Danger Cove ain’t. It kind of reminds me of Cabot Cove—you know, from Murder, She Wrote? Because it’s a quiet seaside town complete with its own famous mystery writer, Elizabeth Ashby, and because murders just keep friggin’ happening here. Even in my own family.

You see, last year Cassidi’s Uncle Vincent Conti (who’s my step uncle) died under what the Danger Cove Police Department describes as “mysterious circumstances.” But, if you ask me, the only thing mysterious about Vinnie’s death is the identity of the criminal who wrapped a fishnet stocking around his neck—and tied it good and tight. Dear old Uncle Vinnie was what we Italians call a donnaiolo, or a womanizer, so Cassidi thinks one of his gumads (girlfriends) did it. But he had longstanding connections in the Atlantic City casino scene and a stash of cash, so organized crime isn’t out of the question.

The thing is, Cassidi and I didn’t really know our Uncle Vinnie. So imagine her surprise when he left her his entire estate, which included an old Victorian mansion that he’d converted into a combined house and hair salon and—best of all—a totally sick black Ferrari. At the time, Cassidi was having some problems back home in Texas, so she packed her bags and got the hell out of Dodge, i.e., Fredericksburg. Her plan was to start a new life in Danger Cove. No problem, right?

Wrong. It turns out that Cassidi’s painted lady, as Victorian homes are called, has a bad rep with the local townsfolk, and it isn’t because of the paint job. Apparently, Vinnie was doing more than his clients’ ‘dos, and before he bought the building it had a hundred-year history as a brothel, not to mention some rather choice artwork. In 1955, a mob of God-fearing (read: prostitute-loathing) women actually tried to burn the place down, and trust me when I say that there are still plenty of people who’d like to see the old girl gone.

Anyway, a few of Vinnie’s regulars continue to come in to The Clip and Sip. One of them was Margaret Appleby, an eighty-year-old Miss Marple lookalike who always drank soy chai tea. I used the past tense because we lost Margaret after our stylist, Lucy O’Connell, put a blue rinse in her hair, and she turned as blue as a bowl of Boo Berry cereal. At first, I thought that Margaret had died because she was old, but the medical examiner said it was murder.

So, now Cassidi and I are trying to prove Lucy’s innocence (which I have my doubts about), save the business, and find out just what, exactly, is going on in our house and in this town. I mean, we know that two murders in one building might be more than a coincidence, so we’re all on edge. But, like I always say, green tea vodka does wonders to calm the nerves. Cassidi has been doing some asking around, and Amy Spannagel, our (lunatic) local librarian, is helping with the research. What we want to know is this: Why did Margaret Appleby turn blue? Was it the blue dye, or something else? And who would want her dead? Last but not least, was her death connected to Vinnie Conti’s?

If you know anything about either of these crimes, please contact the Danger Cove PD. You can also get in touch with Cassidi or me. You can find our contact information on the Danger Cove website. And if you can muster up the courage, stop by The Clip and Sip and have a drink on the salon. While you’re there, I’ll give you a free makeup consultation. FYI: Being from Jersey, I do a serious smoky eye.


You can read more about Gia in Deadly Dye And A Soy Chai, the fifth book in the “Danger Cove” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. The first book in the series is Secret of the Painted Lady by Christina Burke.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on July 31 for the chance to win either a print or an e-book copy of Deadly Dye And A Soy Chai–winner’s choice. Two lucky commenters will be randomly selected. The print giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. The e-book giveaway is open to everyone. Winners will be notified within 48 hours after giveaway closes and you will have three days to respond after being contacted or another winner will be selected.

About the author
Traci Andrighetti is the national bestselling author of the Franki Amato mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon mysteries. 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 busy working on Amaretto Amber or A Poison Manicure and Peach Liqueur, the forthcoming novels in her two series, then she’s probably still celebrating the news that Limoncello Yellow, the debut novel in her Franki Amato mysteries, is a finalist for the 2015 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense.

To keep in touch with Traci, be sure to sign up for her newsletter at her website or on her Facebook page.

Another Day in the Life of Franki Amato by Traci Andrighetti

Prosecco  PinkIt’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.

Right?


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.

Book blurb:

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.

To keep in touch with Traci (and Franki!), be sure to sign up for her newsletter at her website or on her Facebook page.

A Day in the Life of Francesca “Franki” Amato by Traci Andrighetti

Limoncello Yellow A day in my life? Okay, well, I can tell you about today, but I’ll need to backtrack a bit. Now, keep in mind that my motto is “When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello.” But after the events of the past few weeks, I’m sort of inclined to skip the “making” Limoncello part and go straight to drinking it.

It all started on the morning of December 26th in Austin, Texas, when my police partner and I responded to a 911 call reporting a woman in distress at a local motel. Let’s just say that a woman was in distress, but that woman was me—after I found my boyfriend, Vince, at the scene. And the woman? Oh, she was there too. But as it so happens, she wasn’t distressed at all. Quite the contrary.

Later that day I gave notice to the police department. Don’t think I’m a flake or anything, because I’m not. The thing is, I had issues with certain aspects of the job before the incident at the motel, like the routine violence. There’s just no getting used to, say, being punched in the face on Halloween night by a drunken sorority girl who—to add insult to injury—said she’d thought I was a civilian in an “unsexy cop” costume.

The time had come for a complete life do-over. So, I accepted my best friend Veronica’s standing offer to work at her startup detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc., in New Orleans. Then I packed up my 1965 cherry-red Mustang convertible and set off with my Cairn terrier, Napoleon, for The Big Easy, where I had fully intended to laisser les bons temps rouler.

But when I turned onto my new street in the Uptown neighborhood, an ominous pall was cast on my partying plans. (Did I mention that I’m somewhat superstitious?) Yes, there was a jazz funeral in full swing, so to speak. It turns out that the apartment Veronica had helped me rent in her ex-stripper landlady’s fourplex was right across the street from a creepy cemetery. And, thankfully, a bar.

So, on a typical day, I’m greeted by the cemetery’s spooky statues and ghoulish gargoyles before I drive to work in the French Quarter. Then, after I park, I usually have to dodge the ever-present hordes of tourists, drunks, crazies, artists, and mimes as I make my way to the office. I have to steer clear of the beignet vendors, too, because I just can’t resist those puffy, powdered sugar–covered pastries. (You know Italians and dough products.)

Sometimes, I stop by Ponchartrain Bank to do some banking and visit with my teller friend, Corinne. All right, so maybe I also go there to see Bradley Hartmann, the dashingly handsome bank president. But it’s not because I’m desperate or anything . . . At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

You see, I’m 29, Italian-American and single. The single part would be okay if it weren’t for the fact that, according to my nonna, 29 is really 45 in Italian years. I know because she reminds me that I’m a zitella, or old maid, every chance she gets. My parents don’t try to stop her either, because I’m their only daughter, and they want to see me settled. I’d like that too, but not the way they would—that is, with a baby in one arm and another in the proverbial oven while I stir a pot of ragù in my red and white gingham apron. The problem is that my family has roots in Nola. So, my nonna has set me up with a slew of Sicilian suitors, which means that in addition to the tourists et al., I’m often dodging blind dates on my way to work (that’s right, she gives out my office address, just in case).

Once I’m safely at my desk, I check my mail, make some calls, update case files and things like that. Mostly, I do a lot of research, unless our part-time assistant, David, is available to help.

But today is different. Veronica and I are investigating the homicide of Jessica Evans, the beautiful young manager of a local LaMarca, the famous international boutique. Jessica was found there, strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When I went to LaMarca to investigate, I found something the cops had overlooked—a sinister item with grave implications. The only one who can help me make sense of the murder (and, incidentally, my love life) is Odette Malveaux. Who’s she? Rumor has it that she’s the descendent of Marie Laveau, New Orleans’ legendary voodoo queen. So, I’m about to go to a voodoo store on Bourbon Street to find her.

No big deal. Right?


You can read more about Franki in Limoncello Yellow, the first book in the “Franki Amato” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Book blurb:

Francesca “Franki” Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn’t cut out for a life on the police force. So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica’s detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki’s hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When she’s not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of “good Italian boys”—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a Voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on February 1, and you will be entered to win a copy of either the print OR digital version of Limoncello Yellow. One winner will be chosen at random.

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 Traci-AndrighettiApplied 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, Prosecco Pink, 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.

To keep in touch with Traci (and Franki!), be sure to sign up for her newsletter at her website or on her Facebook page.


Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for book giveaways, contests, posting about discounted books and some of my reading musings.