cover image The Bitter Taste of Murder

The Bitter Taste of Murder

Camilla Trinchieri. Soho Crime, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-64129-283-2

In Trinchieri’s savory sequel to 2020’s Murder in Chianti, former Bronx homicide detective Nico Doyle, who has been living in his late wife’s hometown of Gravigna, Italy, for the past year, investigates the death of unpopular wine critic Michele Mantelli, who lost control of his car and plunged down a ravine. An autopsy report suggests Mantelli was probably dead before he ran off the road, a victim of methanol poisoning. It appears someone spiked his whiskey with wood ethanol. Maresciallo Salvatore Perillo and his brigadier, Daniele Donato, help sort out the many suspects, who include the victim’s soon-to-be ex-wife, an irate husband who threatened to kill him, several vintners, and Nico’s landlord. Meanwhile, Nico tests recipes at Sotto Il Fico, his wife’s relatives’ restaurant, where he enjoys seven-layer eggplant, zucchini lasagne, almond biscotti, and other treats. Though the mouthwatering cuisine at times distracts from the detective work, Trinchieri generally does a good job balancing food with folly as the action builds to an unexpected but satisfying solution. Fans of Martin Walker’s Bruno Courrèges series should take note. (Aug.)