Sunday, March 13, 2022

Book Review: MURDER UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN (Rita Calabrese Book 5) by Maureen Klovers


An idyllic retreat in rural Tuscany seems like the least likely place for a murder…. 

Rita Calabrese is a lover of all things Italian—especially the food. So she is overjoyed when Sal, her normally oh-so-unromantic husband, proposes a second honeymoon at a villa in Tuscany. For two weeks, she’ll get a respite from her hectic life as a reporter, sleuth, and mother and be able to just lounge by the pool, traipse through vineyards and olive groves, and gorge on gelato and tiramisu. 

Then Rita meets a suave Italian art crimes detective convinced that the villa is the epicenter of an antiquities trafficking ring, and her romantic getaway becomes a working vacation. As she quaffs glorious vino and learns to roll pici pasta by hand, Rita sizes up the other guests. Ostensibly, they have gathered for the nuptials of Alessandro and Giovanna, the Romeo and Juliet of the Italian archaeology world. But is one of them also a criminal mastermind? 

When the villa’s owner is found dead in an ancient Etruscan tomb, Rita begins to wonder if something even more sinister is afoot. Plunging into an investigation filled with star-crossed lovers, bitter professional rivalries, long-buried secrets, and fabulous food, Rita finds that Italy never loses its ability to amaze. 

Featuring delectable, authentic Italian recipes for caponata, pear and almond tart, peaches with mascarpone, and more! 


A second honeymoon in Italy doesn't quite pan out as Sal planned. From the time Rita gets drawn into trying to identify the antiquities trafficking ring, her inner sleuth is very busy. Then there's the murder of the villa's owner. With most of the other guests connect to the villa owner, the suspects and secrets are plenty. If that's not bad enough, the chef at the Villa tells Rita she can't cook. Those are fighting words.

The story is well-paced with the expected twists and turns as Rita unravels secrets and connections among the other guests, investigates possible antiquities trafficking when many of them are archeologists, and identify the killer, all the while keeping Sal in the dark that she's sleuthing. Admittedly, I found Rita somewhat irritating at the beginning, but she grew on me. If you like cozy mysteries with family tensions, set in Tuscany, you'll enjoy this book. Don't forget the recipes!

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Books in the Rita Calabrese series

The Secret Poison Garden 
A Secret in Thyme
Murder in the Moonshine
Of Masques and Murder
Murder Under the Tuscan Sun

About Maureen Klovers 

Maureen Klovers has held numerous positions in government, including a stint as a U.S. intelligence officer, and was a political commentator on DC 101’s talk radio show "Neighborhood Stuff." Ms. Klovers has traveled extensively in the United States, Europe, China, India, and Latin America. She’s hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, been escorted through a Bolivian prison by a German narco-trafficker, and fished for piranhas in Venezuela.

She received a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations (with a focus on Latin American politics) from the College of William and Mary in 1999 and a Master’s of Public Policy and Master’s of Business Administration from Georgetown University in 2006. She lives with her husband, Kevin, in Arlington, Virginia. 

For more information or to sign up for her newsletter, please visit

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