Murder in Trastevere by Jen Collins Moore – Character Guest Post + Giveaway

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Murder in Trastevere: A Roman Holiday Mystery
by Jen Collins Moore

About Murder in Trastevere

Murder in Trastevere: A Roman Holiday Mystery
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Rome, Italy
Level Best Books (May 18, 2023)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 286 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1685123384
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1685123383
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C13DRJQN

After a decade dominating the expat scene in Rome, Faye Masters has had enough beautiful art, delicious food, and bureaucratic nonsense to last a lifetime. She’s just about decided to pack up and head home when a rival drops dead at one of Faye’s famous cocktail parties. Rumors fly that Faye was the intended target, but the police think Faye might just be an attention-seeking poisoner.

Faye refuses to let the cloud of suspicion stop her from completing a self-imposed 25-picture Caravaggio Challenge. Or keep her from assisting friends Maggie White and Thomas Evans on their painting tours of Rome. But when the leads fizzle out and a series of accidents hit close to home, Faye accepts her own life is on the line. She must search for a killer while keeping up appearances at some of Rome’s most iconic sights.

How I Got an Upgrade from Sidekick to Detective
By Faye Masters (dictated to Jen Collins Moore)

I’m not your usual mystery series detective. I didn’t solve the first case I was involved in, and I probably won’t solve the next one. So what business did I have solving the puzzle in Murder in Trastevere? The answer is complicated.

I made my fictional debut in Murder in the Piazza: A Maggie White Mystery. As the name suggests, that book stars a woman named Maggie White. Maggie’s a recent arrival in Rome, a city I’ve called home for ten years. The gang of American expats living here ebbs and flows as newcomers arrive and old hands move on, and I make a point of welcoming everyone I can find. I love doing it. I meet loads of interesting people, and with the constant turnover, relationships don’t have time to get stale.

Maggie had only been here a few months when she got tangled up in the murder of Lord Philip, a charming man-about-town here who ended up with a bullet through his chest. I know everyone here, and it was only natural that she would ask me for help when the police decided she was the prime suspect. I’d like to say that my assistance cracked the case, but I didn’t get that many pages. I was a sidekick at best, and most readers might even call me a secondary character.

But that’s all right. No hard feelings. I knew there’d be a second book, and I lobbied our author, Jen Collins Moore, to give me a bigger part. I was delighted when she announced she’d decided to put a dead body in my living room. My rival, of all people! Finally, I could show I had what it takes to solve my very own mystery.

But apparently, that wasn’t the plan. The author wanted me to remain a sidekick. More involved than in the first book, but still letting Maggie show off her genius.

I said, “No, thank you.”

If I’ve learned one thing in this world, it’s to speak my mind. You don’t get what you want if you don’t ask for it. I just went on acting as if I was the star. I started showing up when Maggie was interviewing a witness. I started finding my own suspects to question. And I began taking over the internal monologue.

That’s right. The voice of the main character? I started to slip in my own lines. I was interesting. I was funny. I was smart. It was lead detective stuff, and Jen agreed.

So I started letting her know more about me. My life looks pretty perfect on the outside: I speak fluent Italian, I’m a wonderful baker, I make time to exercise, and I take good care of myself and my friends. No one knows how hard I work to keep it all together.

The story begins at the first cocktail party I’ve hosted since my husband left me, and everything was perfect until Rowena Burke had the nerve to drop dead. It was just like Rowena to steal the show. Ridiculous, blaming a woman who had collapsed on the floor, face gray as she struggled for air. I couldn’t help it.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the gang thought it was my fault. Half thought I laced Rowena’s drink with poison, the other half seemed to think I was the intended victim. Either way, I had to clear my name if I wanted to get my life back.

And I certainly wasn’t about to let the cloud of suspicion stop me from completing a self-imposed challenge to see all of Caravaggio’s paintings. Or keep me from helping Maggie get her new business, Masterpiece Tours, running smoothly. But when the leads fizzled out and a series of accidents hit close to home, I had to accept my own life was on the line. I had to search for a killer while keeping up appearances at some of Rome’s most iconic sights.

Nice, right? Definitely main character stuff. Jen had no choice but to rewrite the entire story from my point of view. I was front and center, and Maggie got to see what it was like to play sidekick for a change.

I’ll admit, it was harder than I expected. I got help from Maggie, the tour’s painting instructor, some of the guests on the tour, and even Caravaggio himself. Yep, that painter who’s been dead for more than four hundred years actually gave me the final piece of the puzzle.

Oh, and by the way, I forced Jen to rename the series. It’s not the Maggie White Mysteries anymore. It’s the Roman Holiday Mystery Series. I wonder who will solve the next case?

About Jen Collins Moore

Jen Collins Moore transports readers to Rome in the Roman Holiday Mysteries. Her short fiction has appeared in Mystery Weekly and Masthead: The Best New England Crime Stories. She is president of Sisters in Crime Chicagoland and a founding member of Sleuths and Sidekicks. A transplanted New Englander, she lives in Chicago with her husband and two boys.

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