Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series) by Jennifer S. Alderson #Review

Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice (Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery Series)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – Italy
Traveling Life Press (April 8, 2022)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 208 pages
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 979-8444524107
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09WYZGW8X

Venice — the city of canals, masks … and murder?

Tour guide Lana Hansen is having the time of her life leading a Carnevale-themed trip in Venice, Italy. Her merry group loves exploring the city’s rich artistic and cultural heritage together, as well as sampling the sumptuous cuisine the island city is famous for.

Their invitation to a masquerade ball, complete with historical costumes and fancy masks, should be the culmination of a perfect week. Yet when the guest of honor is bludgeoned to death, all eyes are on the partygoers—including Lana and her group! Was it an environmental protester, a corporate rival, or a disgruntled business associate that did him in? Or could someone have another reason to want the cruise ship executive dead?

Things go from bad to worse when Lana’s boyfriend, Alex, unexpectedly knocks on her hotel room door and shares a shocking secret—one that gets him arrested for murder! Can Lana sleuth out the real killer’s identity before her partner’s visit to the Floating City becomes permanent?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Lana Hansen is back and leading a tour around Venice, Italy complete with an invite to a masquerade ball. Her group is excited to pick up their costumes and masks as well as seeing all the sights in the Floating City.

When they arrive at the ball the entrance is surrounded by protestors but Lana is not going to allow that the hinder her enjoyment or the enjoyment of her group. She spends the evening dancing and partaking in the delicious food and drink but the whole event takes a turn when the host, a cruise ship executive, makes an unexpected announcement. Then he causes another disturbance that involves a member of her group. A short time later the man is found dead. Everyone who attended the ball is now a suspect including Lana and her tour group. This isn’t good  – another murder connected to Lana. Her boss is going to flip!

As if Lana doesn’t have enough to worry about, a knock on her hotel room door reveals her boyfriend Alex and he has a huge secret! A secret that has the police trying to track him down for murder. The murder Lana is already trying to solve! Can she find the killer? or will Alex spend the rest of his life in an Italian prison?

All of Ms. Alderson’s characters are unique and develop well over the course of the story/series. Lana again is a fabulous tour host. This time without Randy by her side. Instead, she is training a new guide. Tom has had a lot of experience with groups in South and Central America and he has a very hands-off approach which just doesn’t work for Lana or Wanderlust Tours. She hopes to whip him into shape by the end of the tour. Lana’s boyfriend, Alex also makes a surprise appearance in Italy to shake things up.

The tour guests are an interesting group. Carmen Winters is traveling with her best friend Rhonda Davis. Carmen is extremely observant of everything happening around her while Rhonda is just delighted to be there and is completely taken in by what she sees and hears. George and Christy Fretwell are two lovebirds. She is beautiful and more reserved. George is more boisterous and tries to fulfill all of Christy’s whims. David and Kathy Windsor have a “little” shipbuilding business and they have brought two of their employees along on the trip. Brothers, Harry and Joe’s excursion is to reward them for their hard work and long hours on an order for an Italian company.

The author also gives the readers rich details of every place the tour group visits. Whether it be tourists coming under a bridge in a gondola or the wonderment of the masquerade ball at Sail Away Cruises to just walking the streets of Venice I was able to clearly visualize everything. She described the costumes at the ball fantastically too. I loved the moment a member of the group reveals his wonderful talent. It felt like an amazing moment.

While this book has all the delightful details of an awesome trip to Venice and eclectic characters, the murder mystery hits too close to home for Lana and it truly turns her life inside out. I really felt bad for her and was mad that she was thrown into such an awful situation. This story had a very different ending than the previous books. It was very emotional and tugged at my heartstrings, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it was a very good thing because we see a different side of Lana and it made her even more genuine and real.

Believable characters wrapped up a top-notch mystery make Death by Gondola a sensational addition to this series.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Jennifer S. Alderson

Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. After traveling extensively around Asia, Oceania, and Central America, she moved to Darwin, Australia, before settling in the Netherlands. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, she can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

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The Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mysteries are heartwarming stories about making friends, traveling, and celebrating new experiences. Join tour guide Lana Hansen as she leads tourists and readers to fascinating cities around the globe on intriguing adventures that often turn deadly.

Books in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series:
Book 1 – Death on the Danube: A New Year’s Murder in Budapest
Book 2 – Death by Baguette: A Valentine’s Day Murder in Paris
Book 3 – Death by Windmill: A Mother’s Day Murder in Amsterdam
Book 4 – Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh
Book 5 – Death by Fountain: A Christmas Murder in Rome
Book 6 – Death by Leprechaun: A Saint Patrick’s Day Murder in Dublin
Book 7 – Death by Flamenco: An Easter Murder in Seville
Book 8 – Death by Gondola: A Springtime Murder in Venice
Book 9 – Death by Puffin: A Bachelorette Party Murder in Reykjavik
Books 10-12 – More adventures are coming soon!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”