Pall Bearers and Pepperoni: Patti Benning

Book 1 in the ‘Papa Pacelli’s Pizza Series’

Eleanora Pacelli has returned to her childhood home- Kittiport, Maine. Twenty five years has passed since she was there last. Returning home is bittersweet. Her grandfather has passed away and it coincides with upheaval in her personal life. With no job and her relationship having just ended, Ellie decides there’s no time like the present to make a drastic change. She’s left the Windy City with her dog, Bunny, to take over her Grandpa’s pizza shop, Papa Pacelli’s.

While she now has a home, family, and a promising business to run, things aren’t all roses. As she begins studying the accounting, it’s obvious that something is wrong, financially, at the shop. The place needs a major overhaul, too. To ease her stressful work situation, she agrees to go out to dinner with an old friend she’s reconnected with.

Ben Elkton is also a local business owner and it doesn’t take long for the two to rekindle their friendship. It is short-lived. On the morning after their first date, Ellie returns to the pizza shop to discover Ben’s murdered body. Poor Ellie! All she wanted was a fresh start to reconnect with her roots. Now, one of her only local friends is dead.

Between trying to turn her grandfather’s dream into a success and helping her family, Ellie feels the need to find Ben’s killer, too. Can she juggle it all?

Patti Benning has created a likeable, relatable heroine. With the usual cozy mystery theme of food, she still puts a little twist on it by using a pizza parlor instead of the preferred bakery setting. Ellie’s grandmother adds a great family element along with her dog & her grandfather’s macaw.

Even with the shorter length of a cozy mystery, Ms. Benning has put a lot of substance and even some twists & turns to appeal to her readers. This is a series that can absolutely go the distance and hopefully it will. I give it 4 stars.

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