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. I am thrilled to have Traci here today with her homage to the lemon and be sure to leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of LIMONCELLO YELLOW and for a chance to win a lovely necklace from Traci, go HERE. Welcome, Traci.
Limoncello Yellow: An Homage to the Luscious Lemon
As a debut author, I’m often asked what inspired me to write Limoncello Yellow. The honest answer is that “it’s complicated,” but the fabulous Italian lemon liqueur known as Limoncello was certainly a big factor.
Although I first drank Limoncello as an aperitivo on my honeymoon in Rome, I can’t say that I really experienced Limoncello until I traveled to the Amalfi Coast and Sorrento. The lemons in these two areas, the Ovale di Sorrento (Sorrento Oval) and the Sfusato Amalfitano (Amalfitan Spindle), are actually bigger than grapefruits. And they’re far less acidic than American varieties, so they’re sweet enough to eat whole.
When you travel to Amalfi and Sorrento, the first thing you notice is that lemons and images of lemons are everywhere. Lemons are hanging in baskets and displayed on produce tables, and they’re painted on dishes, decorative tiles, aprons, linens and so much more. Even Dolce & Gabbana celebrated the almighty Italian lemon last year with a fabulous lemon print shopper.
If I could have, I would have included all of my favorite lemon products from Amalfi and Sorrento in the book. But that would have been lemon overkill in a book set in New Orleans. So, I’ve compiled a list of some of the lemony goodness that Southern Italy has to offer, just in case you get the chance to go there (to lemon heaven).
marmellata di limone (lemon marmalade): The amazing Italian lemons make this marmalade so fresh and sweet that it’s like sunshine in a jar.
miele di limone (lemon honey): Honey mixed with Italian lemon is the perfect blend of sweet and slightly sour, and it’s a great remedy for a sore throat.
olio d’oliva al limone (lemon olive oil): Italian olive oil is already so scrumptious you can sip it like a fine wine. But when combined with Italian lemon juice, it makes a lovely condiment for salads, fish and bread.
scialatielli al succo di limone di Sorrento (pasta with lemon juice from Sorrento):
This pasta tastes delightfully of lemon, and like all Italian pastas, its name has meaning. Scialatielli derives from the Neapolitan dialect verb sciglià (scompigliare in Italian), which means “to disorder” or “to ruffle” in regard to hair. The –tielli suffix means “little ones.” So, scialatielli can be translated as “little messy ones,” an undoubted reference to the disordered appearance of this pasta on the plate.
cioccolato al limone (lemon chocolate): This chocolate is made with lemon and white, milk chocolate or dark chocolate. And besides Nutella, it is one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth. If my protagonist, Franki Amato, could get her hands on this delicious product in New Orleans, she would melt it on her stove and drink it. Daily.
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.
Let me start by saying that I absolutely HATE Franki. She never stops eating – all fattening. And she never stops drinking – alcohol. So what I really mean is I want to BE Franki LOL! An entertaining romance/comedy/cozy mystery, this is a great start on a new series and I will look forward to the next one. ♥♥♥♥
As I surveyed the scene at what looked eerily like the Bates Motel, I was shaking so badly from the cold and fear that I was afraid the gun in my holster would fire on its own. I longed for the cozy fire and protective embrace of my boyfriend that I’d felt as we’d exchanged Christmas presents just hours before.
“Folks, you need to go back to your rooms immediately,” Officer Stan Stubbs announced to the crowd of curious motel guests that had gathered.
When the onlookers began to disperse, the woman in room six began moaning again. According to 911 dispatch, she had been in distress for at least half an hour.
I gave an involuntary shiver and wondered what kind of animal would want to cause a woman pain that produced that sort of moaning.
“Something about this doesn’t feel like a regular domestic abuse situation,” Stan said, drawing his gun. “We need urgent backup, Franki.”
I nodded and grabbed the radio from my belt. “I have a 10-39 at the Twilight Motel on Manor Road. Request backup.”
Stan began his approach to room six.
I put the device away and drew my gun. Then I hurried over and took my place on the opposite side of the door from Stan.
“I’m goin’ in on the count of three,” he said in a low voice. “I need to get to the john, and quick like.”
I gasped. “Now, Stan?”
Stan was my partner on the Austin PD. As a rookie on the force, I’d been paired with a seasoned veteran of the department. Even though we’d spent the past six months together, I’d learned little from Stan except that he had a “wifey” named Juanita who worshipped the ground he walked on, he valued his handgun collection more than he did his now adult children, and he suffered from chronic gastrointestinal distress. And despite his self-proclaimed “legendary instinct” for cracking cases, he was perpetually baffled by his stomach issues even though the culprit was clear: a steady diet of jelly donuts and chorizo, bean and cheese breakfast tacos that he washed down with a gallon or so of coffee and Gatorade (Did I mention that he was also chronically dehydrated because of the diarrhea?). Needless to say, he spent the better part of every shift visiting the nearest men’s room.
Ignoring my concern, Stan grasped his gun with both hands and slammed his right shoulder into the door. It flew open instantly, and he stormed into the room. “Police! Hands in the air!”
As I rushed in behind him, my gun drawn, the woman let out a hair-raising scream.
“What in the hell?” Stan shouted.
I followed his gaze to the bed, and a chill went through my body.
“Why, it’s just a couple goin’ at it,” Stan scoffed.
I blinked hard. Was it my imagination playing tricks on me at 4:30 a.m., or was one member of that couple horribly familiar? As in, exchanging gifts by a cozy fire familiar.
“Vince?” I said, my voice barely above a whisper as I stared at my boyfriend of over two years.
He looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights. “Franki?”
Make that, like a cheating rat caught in the act.
Stan looked from Vince to me. “You two know each other?”
I nodded, unable to speak. The chill that I’d felt initially had turned to a dull aching pain, and all I wanted to do was run from the room and cry. But I couldn’t because I was on duty.
“I’ll let you take it from here, Franki,” Stan said as he rushed into the bathroom and slammed the door.
No sooner had he left the room than the woman leapt from the bed—all 6’ 5” or so of her—wearing nothing but her outrage. “Zis invasion iz illegal in Deutschland.”
“All right Franki,” Vince began in a patronizing tone, “no crime has been committed, so why don’t you put the gun down? Then we can all talk about this like rational adults.”
No crime? Rational adults? The dull pain was quickly turning to red-hot anger. Before I could think it through, I shouted, “If you think for one minute that I’m going to sit down to chat with you and your German whore here—”
The furious fräulein kicked the gun from my hand, and I watched in what seemed like slow motion as it flew under the bed.
“Be careful, Franki,” Vince warned. “She’s here from Munich on a semi-pro wrestling tour.”
“Oh, so now you’re worried about my well being, Vince?” I asked, backing away from the German giantess. Now that I’d mentioned it, I was a little worried about me too. She was squatting down low with her hands raised, like she was going to make mincemeat of me.
- February 10 – Darla King Series – Review
- February 10 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
- February 11 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post – Giveaway
- February 11 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Review – Giveaway
- February 12 – A Chick Who Reads – Review
- February 12 – A Blue Million Books – Interview
- February 13 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post – Giveaway
- February 14 – Socrates’ Book Review Blog – Review – Giveaway
- February 15 – off
- February 16 – Cozy Up With Kathy – Interview
- February 17 – readalot – Review
- February 18 – Community Bookstop – Review – Giveaway
- February 18 – A Date with a Book – Guest Post
- February 19 – Mystery Playground – Interview – Giveaway
- February 20 – StoreyBook Reviews – Review – Giveaway
- February 21 – Books-n-Kisses – Review, Guest Post – Giveaway
- February 22 – rantin’ ravin’ and reading – Review, Guest Post – Giveaway
- February 23 – Chloe Gets A Clue – Interview