"It Cannoli Be Murder" Italian Chef Mysteries By Catherine Bruns: Review/Giveaway

by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the first book in the series Penne Dreadful and a copy of the new book. There is also a link to purchase the new book from Amazon.

Buon Appetito!
It’s Harvest Park, New York, and Theresa “Tess” Esposito had everything: a chef position, raves for her award-winning sauce, and dreams of opening her own restaurant. Sadly, it all came crashing down when her husband of six years was killed in a tragic auto accident. Dylan Esposito was a good husband and friend, a CPA for a large health care firm along with several private clients. But, after a month, slowly emerging from the depths of grief, her cousin, Detective Gino Mancuso, gives her some disturbing news. The accident wasn’t an accident. Her husband’s death was murder. Cooking had always been Tess’s best therapy, but, uncovering the truth and bringing his killer to justice goes along way to ease her broken heart.

Italian Chef Mystery
Penne Dreadful (2019) KRL Review HERE
It Cannoli Be Murder (2020)

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Image Source Poisoned Pen Press
It Cannoli Be Murder earns 5/5 Pinches of Spice...Entertaining Delight!
Tess Esposito may be a recent widow, but she’s a chef by training and talent, a master of “the sauce,” and a pretty good amateur detective. Adding to that resumé is new owner of her own restaurant...Anything’s Pastable. Hoping to get off to a good start with a bit of pre-opening advertisement, Tess agreed to cater a book-signing event at her cousin Gabby’s bookstore. Having best-selling author Preston Rigotta is a coup meant to greatly improve the bookstore’s bottom line, and his favorite dessert was something Tess could make in her sleep...cannoli! But, the cannoli ends up as a key factor in murder!

Buono! Catherine Bruns has stirred up a delightful second helping of her Italian Chef Mysteries, and left me drooling for more. Catherine’s writing style has made me a loyal fan. She uses a first-person narrative giving me a delightful vicarious role with Tess’s “I” perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed her inner thoughts, theories, fears, and close connection to friends and family. With sensory-filled descriptive language it’s easy to picture the small town, shops, character appearances, and often sets up the drama well. Her dialogue illustrates the emotions and varied personalities. The mystery follows the traditional cozy format I like: good set up, revisiting previous character background and connections, clever murder details, person of interest concerns, plenty of suspects with viable motives, a bit of personal peril, great conclusion, and...recipes!

There are other elements that have made this a favorite series. Bruns does well to create characters with the strength to overcome tragedies. In Tess’s case, it’s the murder of her husband and the aftermath of trying to move on. The dream of owning a restaurant was one her husband fostered and supported, but it’s able to see it come to fruition. Friendships and family are also a key element. Tess and her cousin Gabby have an enjoyable sister-like dynamic which motivates Tess’s involvement in the investigation, and cooperating, as best she can, with law enforcement is easy since her cousin Gino is the detective. Karma, too, always seems to have a role.

BONUS! Enjoy your meal! Catherine Bruns always includes easy-to-follow recipes often mentioned or key to the story. Cannoli To Die For, Tess’s Ragu Bolognese Sauce, Cinnamon Chip Biscotti, and Pesto Sauce.

Be a Big Catherine Bruns Fan!
Catherine Bruns has also penned some of my favorite cozy series that true fans should not miss. Her seven-book Cookies & Chance Mystery series follows Sally Muccio and the cryptic messages found in her fortune cookies. The three book Cindy York Mystery illustrates the murderous side of real estate. The two-book Carrie Jorgenson series in the GHP Aloha Lagoon Mystery multi-author collection gives us a delightful Hawaiian setting. When asked how writing has impacted her life, she replied, “It’s changed forever. If I don’t write for a day or two, it feels like part of me is missing. I can’t imagine doing anything else and wouldn’t want to.”

Facebook - Catherine Bruns Books

Website - Catherine Bruns "Murder, Suspense, and Mystery"
Catherine Bruns (Newsletter Sign Up)

To enter to win a copy of the first book in the series Penne Dreadful and of It Cannoli Be Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "cannoli,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 5, 2020. U.S. residents only and you must be at least 18 to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win, we will not use your address for any other reason. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE MOST SHIPPING TAKES LONGER THAN USUAL RIGHT NOW.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors. A new episode went up last week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds good, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

  2. Sounds like a really great series. Can't wait to read.

  3. Sounds great Would love to read

  4. How can you not love that title?
    Karen94066 at aol.com

  5. Sounds like a great read! I'd love to win. aprilbluetx@yahoo.com

  6. Sounds like a great read! I love culinary cozies! Such a cute cover too!

  7. Sounds good, and I really like the cover!

  8. Sounds like a great read! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com


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