Al Dente's Inferno Book Review

Al Dente's Inferno Book Review

Title: Al Dente’s Inferno
Author: Stephanie Cole
Published: February 25, 2020, Berkley
No. of Pages: 304
Cover Price: $7.99 Paperback, $7.99 Kindle

If you’re looking for a new culinary mystery series, you may want to pick up the first installment of the Tuscan Cooking School Mysteries by Stephanie Cole. The first book, Al Dente’s Inferno introduces Nell Valenti, whose career as a professional chef, as well as her love life are not the best, so she jumps at the chance to move to Tuscany and transform an old villa into a state-of-the art cooking school for a world-renowned chef, Claudio Orlandini. Nell learns that her previous boyfriend has also come to Tuscany to film what is going on at the villa. Unfortunately, he is murdered, and since the chef is the number one suspect, Nell must find the real murderer or she’ll be out of a job.

Cole’s good storytelling skills are evident in this novel, and while introducing characters, she does a good job of developing them into believable people. Nell’s command of the Italian language isn’t very good, but she’s saved by Orlandini’s son, Pete, who was educated in America and has excellent English. There are dozens of Italian phrases throughout, which are translated the first time they are used, but then when used again, readers are expected to remember what they mean; this may be helpful to some, but confusing to others. Italian isn’t the easiest language to master, and the way it’s used in this novel may make it difficult for some readers to understand. There are mouthwatering references to food throughout the novel, but the recipe at the end isn’t for any of the ones made famous by Chef Orlandini and isn’t the one that the readers most likely want (most readers actually want several recipes).

All told, this is a cute series with a likeable protagonist. Fans of culinary mysteries will enjoy this new series, and will anticipate the next installment.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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