Monday, February 13, 2023

Murder in Tuscany - Armstrong and Oscar Cozy Mysteries #1



Murder in Tuscany is the first Armstrong and Oscar cozy destination mystery by T.A. Williams. Released 18th Oct 2022 by Boldwood books, it's 264 pages and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free. The second book in the series, Murder in Chianti, is also currently available on KU. 

This is a beautifully descriptive and well written destination mystery set in Tuscany. Former policeman Dan Armstrong is visiting the Italian countryside at a writing retreat to regroup, recharge, and take stock of his own life after the breakup of his marriage. When the leader/owner of the retreat turns up stabbed with his own decorative dagger, Dan's cop instincts and his inside placement at the scene of the crime leave him in a good position to help the local constabulary. His insights are valuable and he and the lead detective develop a good rapport and friendship. 

The plotting is solid and the dialogue and characterizations are well controlled and believable. The mystery, denouement, and resolution are self contained in this volume, so it works well enough as a standalone, but the writing and mystery are so well planned and executed, that it would make an excellent weekend mini binge or buddy read with the companion volume. I sincerely hope that there are more books to come.

It's not derivative at all, but it reminded me in a lot of good ways of Leon's exceptional Brunetti books as well as Walker's lovely Bruno, chief of police books. Fans of those authors will find a lot to enjoy here.

Four and a half stars. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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