by Victoria Thompson
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and links to purchase it.
Writing Murder on Pleasant Avenue was a joy on several levels. First, it is the twenty-third book in the Gaslight Mystery Series, so every book in that series is kind of a miracle because I never expected the series to last beyond six books! So that’s exciting.
The second reason I enjoyed writing this book is because it features my favorite ethnic group: the Italians. My paternal grandparents emigrated from Italy as teenagers over 100 years ago, but my grandmother died young, so I never knew her, and I didn’t know my grandfather well. Most of what I know about them is second hand, but even that is fascinating. From the census records, we know that my teenaged grandfather lived in a boarding house, and my grandmother’s father lived in a boarding house next door. My great-grandfather had four daughters, and he brought them over one at a time, and then finally brought his wife to America. Two of his daughters married the sons of the family he was boarding with and my grandmother married the boy who lived next door. Arranged marriages? Most likely! But I know my grandfather dearly loved his wife from the touching inscription on her headstone.
The third reason I loved writing this book is because it features Maeve and Gino, who are usually secondary characters in the series. A few years ago, they actually got their own book, Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue, and it was fun to give them a slightly larger role in this story, too. In this book, Gino is falsely accused of murder, and his friends must find the real killer to save him. Fans have been nagging me for a while now to get the Maeve and Gino together, so this was a great opportunity for them to grow a bit closer as a couple. Will they or won’t they? Since I started my career writing romance, you can rest assured that they will eventually get a happy ending. I just won’t promise how soon that will happen!
The final reason I enjoyed writing this book is because I got to dispel some myths about the mafia in it. Murder on Pleasant Avenue features The Black Hand, an early criminal group that preceded the mafia but was not actually connected to it. The Black Hand terrorized people by kidnapping women and children and selling protection. The mafia, who came along later, started out by counterfeiting, loan sharking, and running a lottery (i.e. the numbers racket). The Black Hand eventually faded into history while the mafia grew more powerful. What most people don’t realize is that both groups got their start by preying mostly on other Italian immigrants.
In Murder on Pleasant Avenue, I got to show some Italian family life and enjoy vicariously what I missed because I never knew my grandmother. Did you have any relatives who are immigrants to America? Do you have some happy family memories you’d like to share?
Murder On Pleasant Ave
When midwife Sarah and detective Frank Malloy’s friend and new partner Gino Donatelli is accused of murder, he and Sarah must catch the real killer to keep him alive, in this enthralling, new novel in the USA Today bestselling Gaslight Mystery series.
A young woman is missing in the upper Manhattan neighborhood called Italian Harlem and everyone knows who’s responsible—the Black Hand, a notorious group known for terrorizing their own community with violence and kidnappings. Gino and Frank set out to learn more about the disreputable gang and soon find a lead, a saloon-owning gangster named Nunzio Esposito.
Gino hates that a fellow immigrant would stoop so low and decides to confront his wayward countryman. But he quickly discovers the man can’t be reasoned with—because he’s been murdered. The police have only one suspect: Gino Donatelli.
Frank and Sarah know Gino is no killer, but someone has pulled out all the stops to make it look like he is guilty. They also must now face the Black Hand, who are honor-bound to avenge the death of one of their own.
With evidence mounting against their friend and a group of bad guys out for blood, Sarah and Frank race to unravel a treacherous plot before Gino’s time runs out…
To enter to win a copy of Murder on Pleasant Avenue, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “pleasant,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 30, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.
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