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Ferrara Family Mystery #1

Murder on Memory Lake

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For Alberta Scaglione, her golden years are turning out much more differently than she expected—and much more deadly . . .

Alberta Scaglione’ s spinster aunt had some secrets—like the fortune she squirreled away and a secret lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey. More surprising: she’s left it all to Alberta. Alberta, a widow, is no spring chicken and she’s gotten used to disappointment. So having a beautiful view, surrounded by hydrangeas, honeysuckle, and her cat, Lola, sounds blissful after years of yelling and bickering and cooking countless lasagnas.

But Tranquility isn’t as peaceful as it sounds. There’s a body in the water—and it belongs to Alberta’s childhood nemesis. Alberta suspects foul play and when Alberta’s estranged granddaughter, an aspiring crime reporter, shows up, it only makes sense for them to team up and investigate . . .

Includes Italian recipes from Alberta’s kitchen!

323 pages, Mass Market Paperback

Published July 31, 2018

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J.D. Griffo

9 books58 followers

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5 stars
58 (18%)
4 stars
103 (33%)
3 stars
97 (31%)
2 stars
32 (10%)
1 star
17 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,562 followers
July 11, 2018
Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo is the first book of the new cozy Ferrara Family Mystery series. And what a creative beginning to a cozy mystery this was with the sleuthing actually becoming a family affair.

Alberta Scaglione is a sixty something widow who couldn’t believe the news she received that her aunt had left everything in her will to Alberta including her house on Memory Lake in Tranquility, New Jersey. Her aunt had been a spinster and sort of the black sheep of the family but being in a big Italian family Alberta didn’t expect to be singled out.

Moving to the house on Memory Lake Alberta expected to have a nice peaceful place to retire but what she didn’t expect was to walk out and see a body floating in the lake. Just as the local law arrives so does Alberta’s granddaughter, Jinx. Jinx is a reporter and when Alberta insists there was a murder and the police are reluctant to believe her Jinx suggests they make crime solving a family affair.

Murder on Memory Lake is a cozy mystery but it’s almost as if it’s combined with a contemporary about a crazy Italian family. Not only did we have Alberta and her granddaughter but Alberta’s sister Helen and sister in law Joyce so believe me this group could have some crazy moments together. There probably could have been some more sleuthing going on to really tighten up the mystery side but what the heck, I liked the characters so I’m still going four stars on this one.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for LORI CASWELL.
2,478 reviews275 followers
August 24, 2018
Dollycas’s Thoughts

Most of us hope we have a long lost relative that will leave us a fortune. Well, Alberta Scaglione thought she knew her aunt quite well, but was totally surprised to find she had quite a nest egg and a house on the lake in Tranquility, New Jersey. Even more surprising was she left it all to Alberta. Alberta and her cat quickly moved to the house on Memory Lake. The view was idyllic until it was marred by a dead body in the lake. The dead body of someone she knows.

Alberta’s relationship with her daughter has always been strained. Her daughter and her family moved to Florida several years ago and have never come back, even for a visit, so Alberta is thrilled when her granddaughter accepts a job nearby as a journalist. Her dream is to be a hard news crime reporter so she jumps at the chance to team up with her grandmother on a little murder investigation of their own. But will they take it a step too far and put themselves in danger??

Our protagonist is an Italian grandmother and she doesn’t let her age get in the way of doing what she wants. Alberta and her granddaughter Jinx take on a lot to solve this murder mystery. Alberta knew it was murder way before the police did, she even had to point out the clues to her old friend, Chief Vinny D’Angelo. To get close to her suspects and to get information Alberta takes a job where the victim worked. She and Jinx come up with some zany ideas. They even get Alberta’s sister, a former nun, and sister-in-law, who they like much more than their brother, involved in their plans. This is a wonderful group of core characters. They have depth but the author has left them plenty of room to grow as the series continues.

Mr. Griffo has written an elaborate mystery with twists and turns and a unique motive. Several characters seem to have had means and opportunity but the motive seems to be the same. Watching the ladies try to figure out the victim’s “collection” was so enjoyable and at times really funny and sometimes scary. I liked that they sometimes split up or worked in pairs to do their inquiries and they met around the kitchen table to share their findings and theories. Like any Italian family food and drink was also involved, but Jinx trying to make Alberta’s recipes more health conscious was an epic fail 🙂 Sometimes their ideas were pretty out there. I had zeroed in on the killer just before Alberta but the way the ending played out was very exciting.

I liked the bits of Italian we learn throughout the story. The dialogue ran true and always had a nice flow.

Tranquility, New Jersey sounds like a really nice place to vacay. I sure enjoyed my first visit.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,899 reviews492 followers
September 15, 2018
When Alberta Scaglione's spinster aunt dies, she leaves her niece her lake house and money in Tranquility, NJ. Alberta is a widow now and her children are grown, so she's happy to start a new phase of her life. Her peaceful prospects are interrupted, however, when the dead body of her childhood nemesis, Lucy Agostino, is found floating in the lake. Alberta teams up with her granddaughter, Gina -- known as Jinx -- to investigate who killed Lucy.

I enjoyed this cozy mystery with its Italian flavor. Alberta and Jinx bicker with each other as well as other characters, as Italian families and friends will do while loving each other unconditionally. Alberta is intelligent and feisty. And Jinx is a capable reporter and amateur sleuth. The mystery was interesting with plenty of suspects and some twists. There are some yummy recipes (two kinds of cookies and meatballs & gravy!) at the end of the book too! That is always a plus!

This is a nice start to a new cozy series, the Ferrara Family Mysteries. A second book in the series, Murder in Tranquility Park will come out in March 2019. I will definitely keep reading this series. It has a nice mix of humor and mystery!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
Profile Image for Sabine.
595 reviews76 followers
January 25, 2021
I was ready to give up on this book around the half way mark but somehow managed to keep listening and finally got a little more into it. The family dynamics were way too much explained for my taste and even though there were some interesting characters I never felt any connection to them.
Profile Image for Betty.
2,006 reviews55 followers
July 8, 2018
The first of a new series and new author for me and has a unique plot. I found this book hard to rate. I finally gave 3 stars but would have given it 3.5 stars, if I could. I found it difficult to bones with the characters. The text did flow easily. I felt The characters need more development. The ending is no surprise.
An elderly senior, Alberta Scaglione has inherited a cottage from her Aunt. The house is located on the banks of a man-made lake called Memory located in Tranquility, New Jersey. Shortly after moving into the cottage, she located a body floating in the Lake. With her niece, Alberta forms a detective agency to solve the case. Alberta goes undercover as a Secretary to former highschool friend. Will this group of women be able to clear Alberta's name before she is arrested? I recommend this book.
Italian recipes are included.

Disclosure: Many thanks to Kensington Books for a review copy. The opinions expressed are my own.

Profile Image for Ell.
459 reviews55 followers
June 19, 2018
If you enjoy cozy mysteries with an older protagonist, a cast of Italian characters and more quirkiness than suspense then you will enjoy Murder on Memory Lake. I found difficult to connect with cast of characters at times, but I enjoyed the mysterious elements woven into the story-line as well as the beautiful descriptions of Memory Lake.
Profile Image for Gail C..
348 reviews
July 18, 2018
Prepare to suspend belief. The characters are vividly drawn and often their activities are outlandish or so outrageous as to be unbelievable. Nevertheless, they are easy to fall in love with and you find yourself caught up in whatever they are doing at the moment, hoping it all turns out to the good. The mystery, or perhaps it’s solution, borders on the absurd at times, and yet you find yourself wondering if you have drawn the correct conclusions. If so, you may be able to determine “who done it” before it is revealed, always a plus for mystery readers.

The book opens with Alberta learning she is the recipient of a fortune from a spinster aunt who no one knew had money. She moves into the house the aunt owned on Memory Lake and settles down to a quiet, peaceful light. Peaceful until one morning she sees a body floating in the lake that turns out to be an old highschool nemesis. Only Alberta understand that Lucy has been murdered, at least until the autopsy shows that she was stabbed.

Out of a desire to create a relationship and memories with her granddaughter, Jinx, Alberta joins forces with her to solve the mystery. Enter Helen and Joyce, sister and former sister-in-law of Alberta, respectively, to take part in the ensuing adventures. Turns out each woman brings a bit of special knowledge or ability that helps further the solution for “who done in”.

Along the way we meet characters we would love to see again, like Sloane the librarian and Vinnie, the chief of police among others. We also find ourselves caught up in the activities, much as if we are watching a comedic play or a television sitcom where we can see the activities and, if we thought about it we would know they were absurd to the point of unbelievability, but we don’t care. The women are so loveable and the villain(s) so laughably wicked, we are too caught up in reading to worry about the possibility that this would ever happen in real life.

One negative for me, the sprinkling of Italian phrases throughout the book. It slowed down the reading as I worked to try and interpret the phrase, even though within a few lines it would be explained. If the reasoning for this addition was to create an atmosphere where the reader could “see” the loud, excited behavior of the characters, it wasn’t necessary. That was evident in most of the conversations/arguments between the sisters and in their approach to solving the mystery.

The oher slight negative for me, the resolution went on a bit long, almost as if new hiccups were being thrown in because the book hadn’t quite it’s required number of words. Still, it was well written enough to pull me through to the end without resorting to “skimming” the last few pages.

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me an advanced digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If you want to read something for pure entertainment and laughter, this may just be what you want. If you are looking for a more serious murder, one you can see as possibly happening in the world around you, this may not be your cup of tea.
Profile Image for Cathy.
1,125 reviews56 followers
July 18, 2019
I really loved this book! Fun characters. Required a little suspension of belief with all their breaking and entering but it's fiction, I can allow it! One minor complaint was the Italian sentence at the beginning of each chapter. I don't understand why the editor wouldn't have it translated. I didn't know what they meant. Not sure why it was included. Could have done without it.
Profile Image for Annette.
108 reviews35 followers
April 17, 2020
Such a fun book, great characters, fast moving plot and so darn funny. I look forward to reading the second book in this series.
Profile Image for Mark Baker.
2,097 reviews157 followers
April 8, 2020
Things are looking up for Alberta Scaglione in her retirement. She’s inherited money and a cabin on Memory Lake from an aunt, and her granddaughter, Jinx, has come back into her life thanks to a job for the local paper in Tranquility, New Jersey. However, things take a sad turn when Alberta finds the body of her childhood nemesis in the lake. Alberta quickly realizes the woman was murdered, and Jinx talks Alberta into investigating to jump start her transition to crime reporter. Can they solve the case?

The book starts out with a couple of chapters that are little more than data dumps, giving us the background on the characters. Yes, we need to know the information, but it could have been slipped into the novel better. The mystery itself is strong with several viable suspects and a logical trail to the great climax with some fun red herrings along the way. Alberta and Jinx are joined by another couple family members, and the four women are a delight, making me laugh a few times. The book is written in omniscient point of view, but mostly sticking with Alberta and Jinx. It mostly works, but it allows for passages of the characters pondering life. These felt like they’d be more at home in a literary novel than a mystery. The book closes out with a few recipes. The bones of the book are good, but overall, it felt overwritten. There is enough enjoyable elements to the book that if you are curious about the book, I recommend you check it out and see what you think for yourself.

Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
Profile Image for Kristina.
3,519 reviews63 followers
August 15, 2018
Murder on Memory Lake by J.D. Griffo is the debut of The Ferrara Family Mystery series. Alberta Scaglione is surprised when she learns her recently deceased aunt, Carmela had an estate and left it entirely to her. It turns out that Carmela kept some secrets which included a lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey and a large amount of money. The only caveat is that she cannot give away any of the money (i.e.—to her greedy relatives) for two years (she knew her niece well). Alberta’s family used to vacation in Tranquility for two weeks every summer. One morning, Alberta is sitting on the porch of her new home enjoying the view of the lake with her cat, Lola when she spots a dead body. The victim is Alberta’s old high school nemesis, Lucy Agnostino. While Chief Vinny D’Angelo is ready to declare it an accidental drowning, Alberta states it is murder and she can prove it. Alberta’s granddaughter and local journalist, Jinx arrives during the hubbub for their weekly breakfast. It turns out that the victim was murdered, and Alberta intends to track down the killer. Jinx wants to prove her worth to her boss, so she teams up with Alberta to unravel the whodunit. They get help from Helen, Alberta’s sister (and former nun) along with their former sister-in-law, Joyce (they actually prefer her to their brother). These four ladies use their wits and connections to crack the case.

Murder on Memory Lake is a quirky cozy mystery filled with larger-than-life characters. Alberta is a widow of Italian descent living in New Jersey and frequently uses Italian words and phrases. Helen is a former nun, Joyce is their former sister-in-law, and Jinx (aka Gina) is Alberta’s granddaughter who just moved back to New Jersey. Each woman has a different skill or knowledge which aids them in solving the case. Their diverse personalities does lead to frequent disagreements. There are numerous characters introduced throughout the story. It seems that many of Alberta’s former classmates have relocated to Tranquility (what a coincidence). I wish the author had taken the time to flesh out Alberta’s character. She feels like a caricature. The Italian phrases and words that she throws into conversations quickly became annoying and they are not always explained/translated. I thought the author was overly wordy which led to a slower pace (a little rewriting would have made a difference). The dialogue (except for the Italian bits) was realistic and fits with the characters. The point-of-view switches between Alberta and Jinx providing two distinct perspectives. The ladies investigate the mystery in their own way and update each other on their progress while indulging in delectable delights. The ladies tend to jump to conclusions that are not supported by facts or evidence. The mystery is slightly convoluted with a drawn out ending. Most readers will arrive at the solution long before it is revealed. I am giving Murder on Memory Lake 3 out of 5 stars. Murder on Memory Lake has unique characters, humor, a black cat, a lovely setting and a curious murder mystery.
Profile Image for Regan.
1,729 reviews32 followers
September 28, 2019
One of the best cozies I've read in a long time...and I've read some good ones. I could totally hear the characters' voices with that unique Italian Jersey accent. Each character is fully fleshed out--the four women "detectives" are unique with their own, very strong, personalities. The parts scuba diving in the lake lost me a little, but Griffo ties the threads of the story together nicely. Definitely continuing with this series.
Profile Image for Ann.
5,286 reviews62 followers
October 26, 2018
This is book 1 in the Ferrara Family Mystery series and it's a good one. I love how Alberta Scaglione inherits a cottage on Memory Lake and gathers her Italian family around. When her granddaughter Jinx arrives just as an old frenemy of Alberta is found in the lake, they decide to investigate. The mystery was well written, the only annoying thing about this book was all the comments among the family in Italian. I like the older characters taking point and still be active women. I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
578 reviews1 follower
February 14, 2020
A cozy mystery with an older main character in Alberta Scaglione. Alberta is a single grandmother, heir of a wealthy aunt in her golden years and mainstay of a large Italian family. This was a solid cozy mystery with lots of light moments provided by this cast of characters.
Profile Image for Nancy H.
2,707 reviews
August 9, 2019
This quirky mystery has a lot of laughs but also a very good plot and excellent (also quirky) characters. When Alberta inherits a house along the shore of Memory Lake, the last thing she expects to find is the dead body of her childhood nemesis floating on top of the lake in front of her house. Alberta teams up with her formerly-estanged granddaughter, who now is trying to make her way as a reporter, and together they decide to find the murderer. They need help, though, so they get it in the guise of some other relatives who decide they want in on the action. The story is funny, the mystery plot line is good, and other than some 'suspend-your-disbelief' moments here and there, it is a good read.
Profile Image for JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book).
1,268 reviews20 followers
July 17, 2019
Alberta Scaglione hasn't had an easy life. She was married to a man who didn't love her, and her only daughter fights with her constantly - which culminates in her daughter moving out of state to get away from her. She's a 64-year-old widow who doesn't have much in life - until a spinster aunt leaves her over three million dollars and a lakefront home in Tranquility, New Jersey. Now she's enjoying her chance to relax and live her life the way she wants.

At least she was, until a body floats on the lake in front of her. It turns out to be an old enemy from school, and when Alberta notifies the police, she's convinced the woman was murdered. They don't believe her until after the autopsy report, and she decides to leave it at that. But when her granddaughter arrives in Tranquility, things change. Jinx's personality is like her grandmother's, but she's trying to make it as a reporter. She's tired of fluff pieces and wants to investigate the murder. When her editor tells her no, she convinces Alberta to help her, and along with Alberta's sister Helen and sister-in-law Joyce, they try and figure out who killed the woman. But will it bring Jinx the new job or just danger?...

This is the first in a new series and I really wanted to like this book. Sadly, it pretty much lost me at the beginning by showing me that Alberta isn't the 'nice' woman she's supposed to be. A relative - the one who eventually leaves her money - is in a nursing home and she repeatedly whispers to her, "Just go already. There is nothing left for you here, so just die for Crise sake." Does that sound like a warm, loving woman? Especially since the hearing is the last to go and the woman heard every word? I remember when I lost my father, and I spent my time telling him how much I loved him. It still breaks my heart to this very day.

Anyway, she's a nasty human being; what she said notwithstanding, she was constantly arguing and yelling at her daughter and the author tells us that because it's what they've always done we're just supposed to shrug our shoulders and think this is fine. Sorry, but this is not acceptable behavior and it's abusive. No wonder her daughter moved away.

Then her granddaughter convinces her that breaking and entering is an acceptable way to get information and clues to the murder, so she decides to go ahead with it, knowing it's illegal. I've never liked it when characters do that, mainly because the person who isn't supposed to be home always shows up (in this I wasn't disappointed).

I was disappointed, however, that the characters were so stereotypical - right down to spouting Italian at every opportunity. Not only is Alberta nasty and mean, her sister Helen, an ex-nun, throws insults around like a Frisbee; and the sister-in-law sure likes her liquor - having no problem drinking first thing in the morning. What a fun group of people.

In the end, I didn't find the "collection" interesting, and the characters just grated on me, which made me skim through the end of the book. Sorry, but I won't be reading any more in this series.
Profile Image for Jerri Cachero.
600 reviews48 followers
March 28, 2019
Solving mysteries, family style!

I enjoyed the first book in the Ferrara Family Mysteries! When a surprise inheritance changes Alberta Ferrara 's life, it also leads to changes in her granddaughter Jinx, sister Helen and sister-in-law Joyce's lives - they become investigators. Their first case is a matter of life and death for Alberta!

With the exception of Jinx, all the ladies are of a mature age, which I enjoy! The characters are feisty, stubborn, complex and loving, kind and smart...just like family! The mystery keeps you guessing! I also loved the Italian quotes throughout the book!

Humor, family, mystery, wonderful recipes, old loves and new ones make this a series you'll enjoy! I'm getting the second book right now!
Profile Image for Carla.
6,131 reviews134 followers
January 31, 2019
This is the first book in a new series and what a start it was. I loved this loud, boisterous, sassy Italian family. When Alberta Scaglione's spinster aunt dies, she leaves her niece her lake house and money in Tranquility, NJ. Alberta is a widow and her children are grown, so she's happy to start a new phase of her life. Moving to the house on Memory Lake Alberta expected to have a nice peaceful place to retire but what she didn’t expect was to walk out and see a body floating in the lake. Just as the local law arrives so does Alberta’s granddaughter, Jinx. Jinx is a reporter and when she pitches an investigation to her boss, he shuts her down. Alberta and Jinx decide they will work together to solve the mystery of who killed Lucy Agostino, Alberta's childhood nemesis.

This is a fun cozy mystery story. With the big Italian family, quirky characters (one of her sisters is a nun who left the convent) and the small town atmosphere, I wanted to head off to Tranquility to meet up with them all. Alberta and Jinx, the two main characters, bicker with each other as well as other characters, while loving each other unconditionally. Alberta is intelligent and feisty while Jinx is a capable reporter and amateur sleuth. As the story unfolds there are a few suspects, some red herrings, some twists and turns that left me guessing. This book had a lot of character building, so the mystery sometimes seemed to take a back seat to the craziness of the family, but that was okay, because I enjoyed the quirkiness. The final reveal was not on my radar and was a bit out there, but it fit with the rest of the story. I listened to this book and my only complaint was the Italian phrase at the opening to each chapter. I did not know what the phrases meant and it was not translated in the story. The narrator did a great job with the various voices, especially the Italian voices. I felt like I was right there listening to the characters. Overall I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to my next visit with The Ferrara Family.
Profile Image for K.A. Davis.
Author 4 books462 followers
January 28, 2020
This past November I had the opportunity to attend a Kensington Cozy Con and meet several “new to me” authors. I was intrigued when I heard the tagline premise of one series “Golden Girls meets Jersey Shore” so I made a point to speak with the author, J.D. Griffo. Much to my pleasure not only was his book, MURDER ON MEMORY LAKE, a fun read but it also contained several recipes. While there are three books in the series so far, I opted to start with the first book. I loved that the co-protagonist, Alberta Scaglione, is a grandmother who joins forces with her reporter granddaughter, Jinx. It gives a nice range of points of view of the crime from the two age perspectives, although once Alberta got involved, she didn’t let her age slow her down. Rounding out the core cast of characters is Alberta’s ex-nun sister, and her almost ex-sister-in-law who they all like better than their own brother. Lots of Italian phrases fly between the women and each chapter starts with an Italian saying, which flavors the book. For the most part, the phrases are translated or given in context so the reader can figure it out.

There are lots of zany antics as the four women team up to find out who murdered Alberta’s high school nemesis, who was found floating in the lake in front of Alberta’s home. As they start asking questions and uncovering information, they begin to call themselves the Ferrara Family Detective Agency. I liked how they divided up the work between themselves and shared the responsibilities. As the suspect list grows, so does Jinx’s desire to solve the case and prove that she’s a capable investigative reporter instead of turning over their findings to the local police. There were a couple situations that needed a suspension of belief but I read for entertainment and escape, which this book fully delivered. The suspenseful ending wrapped the threads of the story together in one satisfying read. Mr. Griffo has set the stage with his characters to fully entertain in future books!
Profile Image for Jessica Wilhoite.
350 reviews16 followers
July 27, 2018
"Murder on Memory Lake" is about a woman (Alberta) who inherits a lake house from her aunt. Right after she moves in she discovers a body floating on the lake. It turns out she knew the woman from her you - and was not very fond of her - apparently someone else wasn't either. Alberta is estranged from her daughter, but is very close with her granddaughter, Jinx, and they decide they want to solve this mystery together. Of course, neither of them are detectives. With the help of Alberta's sister, Helen, and sister-in-law, Joyce, they make a pretty fearsome foursome.

I really like the relationship between grandmother and granddaughter - it reminded me of the closeness I have with my own grandmother. The killer was on my suspect list, but it played out a lot differently than I thought it would - you'll just have to read this to understand what I mean. This book was a lot of fun and humorous - two of the women disguised themselves as nuns (one was actually a former nun) and Joyce seems to know everyone in the world who can help her out with little tidbits of information regarding this case. Again, no spoilers, so pick up this book.

I will say that while I enjoyed this book, the narration was a little confusing at times. Sometimes different characters were narrating their own thoughts in the same paragraph as another character. This didn't take anything away from the content of the story, just my honest opinion.

#MurderOnMemoryLake #NetGalley

I voluntarily reviewed this book on Netgalley.
Profile Image for RO G'ma.
1,017 reviews34 followers
July 5, 2018
3.5 Stars
Murder on Memory Lake is the debut book in J.D. Griffo’s Ferrara Family Mystery series. The book starts slow, but picks up momentum and the cast of quirky characters add humor to the storyline. There aren’t any gratuitous adult situations or graphic violence in this unique mystery, but there is adult language.

When Alberta Ferrara Scaglione’s aunt passed away, she’s shocked not only to learn she owned a house, and had cash and stocks, but also that she’s the sole beneficiary. Alberta moves into the house on Memory Lake in Tranquility, New Jersey with her cat, Lola, and is enjoying the beauty of the area, but it isn’t long before she finds the body of her nemesis, Lucy Agostino, floating in the lake. The local authorities don’t suspect foul play, but Alberta is convinced Lucy was murdered. Gina “Jinx” Maldonado, her granddaughter who aspires to be an investigative journalist, convinces Alberta to help her investigate. Alberta’s sister, Helen, a nun who recently left the convent, and their sister-in-law, Joyce, join them as they stumble through their rather clumsy but productive sleuthing. The group begins calling themselves The Ferrara Family Detective Agency. They find themselves in unique situations and even place themselves in harms’ way.

I received an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
May 23, 2019
What an excellent start to a new series (I actually started this series with book 2, and loved it so raised book 1 to the top of my TBR pile!)

Alberta was expecting to live out her life in a fairly cramped apartment when she gets a surprising phone call letting her know that she is the sole beneficiary of her late aunt.  This means a wonderful house over looking  Memory Lake, she also has managed to connect with her grand daughter (known to all as Jinx) but is still estranged from Jinx's mother, oh and her sister has also moved to Tranquility (having left the convent after 40 years!) and her sister in law also lives near by.

When Alberta sees a body in the water (turns out to be Lucy who however hard she tried she could never got on with) she calls on her old friend, Vinny (the local Police Chief) who thinks that the corpse died of natural causes, when Alberta disagrees and tells him why he says he will get it looked at, oh and Alberta is right! Now she and the other three women in her life have banded together to find out the truth, so Lucy (and by extension Alberta) can rest in peace, each woman has her own strengths and these are shown skillfully through the book!
18 reviews
April 12, 2023
Murder on Memory Lake

         Murder on Memory Lake, by J. D. Griffo, has certain points in its favor: an unusual grandmother-granddaughter crime-solving duo; several other interesting characters; and a surprising villain. What it doesn’t have is a believable motive for murder. Alberta Scaglione wants to solve the murder of her childhood enemy, whose body is found in Memory Lake. But (spoiler alert) deep into the book, we find out the murder is covering up the theft of a large collection of 50-year-old TV Guides. Thirty seconds with a search engine could have told Griffo that the value of the collection is somewhere between $0 and $1 per issue, which is not a substantial reward in the eyes of anyone but a lunatic. This should alert the reader that the writer wasn’t serious enough to do any research. Then we find out that said volumes were stored under the lake, in some kind of supposedly impervious locker! All of a sudden we have entered a cartoon, and the author’s credibility is lost. Don’t waste your time. To paraphrase my old friend Ione, with so many good books to read, why would you spend time on that?

Profile Image for Patty.
1,553 reviews1 follower
August 3, 2018
Murder on Memory Lake by J. D. Griffo is the first book in Ferrara Family Mystery series, and an enjoyable book. Alberta is shocked to learn that she inherited not only a lake house in Tranquility, New Jersey, but also everything else her aunt owned. When a body is found in Memory Lake, Alberta, her granddaughter Jinx, sister Helen, and sister-in-law Joyce set out to solve the mystery. Jinx is a reporter, who is looking for a break on a big case. I found this book very interesting, and full of colorful characters. Not only is there a good mystery, the plot and characters are well developed. I recommend this book, and am looking forward to reading their next adventure.

I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Profile Image for Maria.
1,659 reviews54 followers
April 6, 2021
Great first book in the series! I loved the characters in this one. I just had a hard time believing the motive for murder and the "collection"
Profile Image for Carol.
702 reviews13 followers
June 15, 2018
Received a free copy from Murder & Mayhem and Kensington Books. It was a mixed bag for me.

What I liked:
- The characters were engaging, and I like the warm Italian family relationships;
- Well written dialog that felt natural;
- Descriptions of people and places were pretty good;
- Good sense of humor throughout.

Things I didn't like as much:
- The plot was pretty convoluted, especially at the end. One big messy ball of spaghetti;
- The characters jumped to conclusions that sometimes didn't make much sense;
- Too much breaking and entering for my taste;
- Some evidence wasn't described enough, like the covers of the three TV Guide issues, so the reader couldn't always "play along" in analyzing the clues;
- The many Italian words and phrases weren't always clearly translated for those of us who don't know the language;
- There were many grammatical errors, especially related to comma usage. Since I read an advance copy, I'm hoping that they'll be corrected before actual publication.

So will I read the next book in the series? I'm not sure. Despite the issues, it was a fun read, so maybe I'll give the series another shot.
Profile Image for Annarella.
11.7k reviews128 followers
July 14, 2018
It was a very enjoyable and fun read and I laughed loud a lot of time. I look forward to reading further instalment in this series.
This book is a page turner, it's a bit slow at the beginning but when it starts going it's fast paced and full of funny situations.
I loved the realistic description of the family and the Italians involved in the plot. It's not easy to describe and Italian family in a humorous way without turning everything into a caricature.
There's a mix of mystery and women's fiction and I appreciated the tender look on the characters.
The plot is sound, no plot hole, and it kept me guessing till the end.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for this ARC
Profile Image for Dianne Landry.
1,004 reviews
July 26, 2022
The quote is what made me stop reading this book. They are spoken by a lawyer with an Italian name but practicing in the US. "I canna explain to you everything atta the reading of the will, but assa I said to you it's a substantial sum of money. Plussa you have the house."

There was much more like this in the first 15 pages but that was the one that ended it for me. I have a real problem with bad stereotyping and this feels like the author is almost racist in her depictions. Anyway, I got 15 pages in and knew I could read no more.
Profile Image for Jessi.
5,011 reviews18 followers
September 19, 2018
I saw this book as an ebook in my local library and thought I'd start a new series. I gave it 50 pages and then had to put it down. The writing style was just uncomfortable for me. I'm not sure if it was translated from another language but it just didn't flow well with alternating long, flowing sentences and then very short simple sentences. Over and over again and it just made it too hard to keep going.
29 reviews
September 14, 2018
I am sorry but I’ve already lost interest in this book. I made it to chapter 5 and that’s all I’m reading.
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