Very Veggie Murder: Patti Benning

Book 3 in Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria Series

Moving in with her Nonna has also allowed Ellie Pacelli to see some of the extended family she once knew. Uncle Toby, Aunt Kathy, & Cousin Darlene have all arrived to visit. Although it’s been a major adjustment to the life Nonna & Ellie have created together, it’s only for a little while. They’ve even had a chance to spend time with Darlene’s childhood friend, Danny. He knows more about the family than Ellie does and everyone likes him.

In fact, when Ellie discovers a troublesome note that belonged to her grandfather, Danny is the one she turns to for help. Underneath a bookshelf in Papa’s study, an old piece of paper reveals a dark secret. Thinking her grandfather was always a stand-up guy, both Danny & Ellie are surprised to see that the note refers to blackmail.

Papa Pacelli had been blackmailing someone known on paper as only ‘T’. Being too mysterious for Ellie to let go of, she asks Danny to do some more investigation. Comfortable that he’ll know who to ask, Ellie waits for news. However, someone wants them to stop snooping.

When Danny is discovered dead in his car, Ellie realizes that the whole blackmail scenario was even darker than she’d thought. Now she needs to discover who Papa had the goods on before they decide she knows too much, too.

Book 3 is just as wonderful as the first two. I hope it won’t be the last in the series. ‘Very Veggie’ has several twists & turns that will allow readers a chance to decipher all the clues. There are several suspects and any of them could’ve fit the bill.

Ellie continues to be a top-notch heroine with a solid moral compass. I like tht she is presented as a good, ethical business woman who still puts family first. I also appreciate that we aren’t introduced to evry person in town all at once. Many cozy mystery author’s make this mistake. Instead of bite-sized introductions, they throw everyone out there at once. But, avoiding this, Patti Benning deepens the mystery, lets us pick our suspects, & gives readers a chance to really like Ellie.

It’s another well done, 4 star book.

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