Gilda has been absent from her hometown for 30 years, and when she returns with a pocket full of cash (19 million from a lottery win), she opens up a business. Everything is ready for the opening night – except the dead blonde in the dumpster out back wasn’t part of the plan. What’s worse, that dead blonde was Gilda’s first client! This is just the start – dead blondes seem to drop everywhere Gilda goes!

In A Season for Killing Blondes, author Joanne Guidoccio introduces a bevy of Italian friends and relatives who are loving, clever, talented, overbearing, overprotective, erratic, abusive, etc., and who try to “help” Gilda manage her life, whether she wants their input or not. Some of the characters have double names—think of The Waltons 2.0—that in combination with some cousins, a few Aunts, and an Uncle, may initially seem confusing, but the author handles it with a deft touch. The names and behaviors add depth, texture, and suspects to the story.

When lead detective, Carlo Fantin, comes onto the scene with a lot of pressure from the city to solve the crimes, he’s all business until he realizes that he knows Gilda from high school…30 years ago.  On the plus side, she accepts his dinner invitation to reconnect. On the negative, she’s a prime suspect who has a huge problem with alibis.

But honestly, who wouldn’t love a relative willing to create a handy alibi on the fly?

“Relax, Gilda. You’re not going to jail. I provided you with an alibi for last night. All those times that Roberto and I rehearsed worked.” Sofia (her mother) glanced over at me. “Aren’t you pleased? You’ve said very little since we left the station.” 

or how about this:

“I called Detective Fantin and left a message on his machine,” Uncle Paolo said. “When he calls back, I’ll make sure that he knows you and Sofia were with us Saturday night.”

Talk about a support network.

A Season for Killing Blondes is well crafted with solid character and setting descriptions that do not get in the way of pacing. For those readers who enjoy a good humorous mystery and whodunit, along with Italian food, Guidoccio’s cozy does not disappoint. Clues, hints, and some foreshadowing are mixed in with a few curve balls (and meatballs) that keep you guessing until the end.