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Day In Life ~ Rita Calabrese by Maureen Klovers

What’s my typical day like? If you happen to’d requested me that query a few weeks in the past, my reply would have been simply what you’d anticipate from a proud Italian-American matriarch who can be Acorn Hole’s finest gardener and the thirteen-time winner of St. Vincent’s pasta-making competitors.

An hour in my backyard, ruminating on the generally unlucky parallels between the denizens of my vegetable plot and my dwelling. [I relatively resemble my butternut squash: beige-skinned, a little bit lumpy, and with a fleshy spherical backside. My soon-to-be—hopefully, never-to-be—daughter-in-law Susan resembles a inexperienced onion: straight up and down, no curves, a cool inexperienced vegetarian with the gall to insert herself the place she doesn’t belong (my clump of girasoli within the case of my precise inexperienced onion, my household in Susan’s case).]

A leisurely breakfast of espresso and fresh-baked muffins with my gruff however affectionate husband, Sal. Then a pleasant lengthy stroll with Luciano and Cesare, my Bernese mountain canine who carry little flasks of limoncello round their necks and reply to my instructions in Italian with alacrity. On many a day, we detour from our regular route to go away little care packages for down-on-their-luck neighbors (with the utmost secrecy after all, made potential by my community of informants).

Subsequent up? Volunteering, singing within the funeral choir, writing articles for St. Vincent’s Italian-language e-newsletter (very fashionable with blue-haired girls of a sure age), whipping up a batch of cannoli. (That candy tacky filling is like fact serum, which turns out to be useful when you might have tight-lipped grown youngsters too proud to ask to your much-needed knowledge.)

However all of that modified a number of weeks in the past once I bought a job as a reporter for the Morris County Gazette! Now I’m a severe, hard-bitten journalist (don’t you simply love the sound of that? I do!) tackling human curiosity tales about Acorn Hole’s most fascinating residents.

And we’ve got no scarcity of these!

Exhibit A: Elizabeth Van Der Hooven, the highschool biology instructor eternally depressed as a result of she was handed over for the instructor slot on the Challenger. (Sure, the one which blew up. There actually is one thing to the phrase “mad scientist.” After all, if she had blown up on the shuttle, I may have averted years of being on the receiving finish of her curled-lip, indignant stare and her rant about how my son Vinnie “was failing to stay as much as his potential.” It was a thrill to stride into her classroom as a journalist—somebody she ought to kowtow to if she didn’t wish to danger unhealthy press!—relatively than the World’s Worst Mother.)

Exhibit B: Her sidekick, the soft-spoken Julia Simms, who—unbeknownst to everybody, not less than till my story broke—has cultivated the city’s (dare I say the world’s?) deadliest backyard. It accommodates solely toxic crops, in addition to the severed finger of her unlucky ex-boyfriend (a little bit kitchen mishap, she claims).

However now I’m chasing an excellent larger story. Jay Stiglitz, the city’s beloved soccer coach, has been murdered—within the hospital, no much less! Almost certainly poisoned by a lethal cocktail from Miss Simms’s backyard. And the mysterious signs that led to his hospitalization had been suspicious to say the least. . .Might there be two murderers afoot?

I’m working my sources, after all—my previous flame, hapless police chief Geno D’Agostino; Sal’s shady cousin, Calvino, who has hyperlinks to the prison underworld via his Atlantic Metropolis vitamin “emporium,” and Hannah, the highschool’s purple-haired receptionist who wasn’t even born when the Challenger exploded.

However one thing tells me that my finest sources may very well be those closest to me—they usually’re not speaking. So in between journeys to the confessional (with a job like this one come new occupational—and ethical—hazards) and marathon classes within the kitchen (in any case, I’ve a pasta-making title to defend!), I’m staking out my household. And the revelations—good and unhealthy—are coming at me quick and livid.

However will I be in time to unravel the homicide—and save my household?

Giveaway: 5 readers (U.S. entries solely, please) chosen at random will obtain a signed, print copy of The Secret Poison Backyard. Depart a remark under to your probability to win. The giveaway ends July 7, 2018. Good luck everybody!


You’ll be able to learn extra about Rita in The Secret Poison Backyard, the primary guide within the NEW “Rita Calabrese” culinary thriller collection.

Rita Calabrese is the guardian angel of Acorn Hole—and of her lovable however exasperating “famiglia.” She’s all the time fortifying her down-on-their-luck neighbors with secret deliveries of home-grown greens and ravioli alla zucca, sneaking cannoli into her gruff husband’s lunch, and meddling in (or, as she would say, “bettering”) the lives of her three grown youngsters.

However now, on the eve of her sixty-sixth birthday, Rita’s searching for a significant second act—and finds as a reporter for the native paper. Her profiles of Acorn Hole’s eccentric residents, together with the soft-spoken biology instructor with a secret poison backyard, quickly make her the toast of the city. However when the beloved soccer coach is murdered and Rita’s investigation uncovers not solely a messy love triangle, but additionally rumors of her ne’er-do-well son Vinnie’s involvement, she finds her newfound journalistic zeal on a collision course along with her fierce maternal intuition.

Set in New York’s bucolic Hudson Valley and sprinkled with Italian phrases and customs, The Secret Poison Backyard consists of eight mouth-watering, garden-to-table Italian-American recipes.

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Meet the creator
Maureen Klovers is the creator of the Jeanne Pelletier stomach dance thriller collection and the creator of the memoir “Within the Shadow of the Volcano: One Ex-Intelligence Official’s Journey via the Slums, Prisons, and Leper Colonies to the Coronary heart of Latin America.” The mom of a (human) toddler and an lively black Lab, she has hiked the Inca Path to Machu Picchu, been escorted via a Bolivian jail by a German narco-trafficker, and fished for piranhas in Venezuela. A confirmed Italophile, she has studied Italian in Rome and enjoys making pasta and Italian desserts.

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