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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Death by Fountain: A Christmas Murder in Rome by Jennifer S. Alderson is the fifth book in the Travel Can Be Murder series. It's Christmas and nothing is more romantic than silver bells ringing except maybe wedding bells. What could be more romantic than a tour of Rome with your closest friends and family before the day you say 'I do'? It's definitely not the ex-girlfriend that crashes the festivities with a plan to steal away the groom. Randy isn't pleased to see his stalker looking for an invite. After a fight ensues in the hotel lobby, Lana thought the woman had left... until her body is found in the Trevi Fountain and Randy is arrested for murder. Lana knows that her friend would never hurt anyone, but can she prove it before Randy goes down for murder?
Rome should be full of romance and fun, but nothing goes according to plan when Randy's secrets come to light and Lana learns about his nightmare ex-girlfriend. The story sets up the dramatic dynamic between Randy and Rachel long before the murder. The more Randy tries to run from his past the more it seems to come crashing into his present and this time it brings Lana into the middle. As with the previous books in the series, the story is largely-character driven. Randy's past adds an emotional depth to the character who has gone from the goofy guide Lana was training to a friend. Jennifer S. Alderson creates a mystery that is complex with plenty of suspects with strong motives that send you through a loop to solve it. Each of the previous mysteries is driven by Lana's desire to help her friends by proving their innocence and this drives her determination to catch a killer. Death by Fountain is a charming excursion around Rome with a murder mystery at the heart, a wedding falling into shambles, and Lana Hanson continuing to be a complex protagonist.