Scattered Legacy

Murder in Southern Italy

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
352 Pages
Reviewed on 12/22/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Scattered Legacy: Murder in Southern Italy is a work of fiction in the murder mystery and suspense subgenres, and was penned by author Marlene M. Bell. Suitable for the general adult reading audience, the novel takes us to the gorgeous vistas of Southern Italy, where dark deeds are waiting around every corner. In this third installment of the Annalisse series, we find adventuring couple Alec and Annalisse on a trip to Bari to explore his family’s heritage. But things take a murderous turn when Alec’s former CFO turns up as a prime suspect, and the tangled threads of the case lead all the way to the Sicilian Mafia.

I always enjoy a murder mystery that leaves plenty of room for things to bubble up, and for readers to reach their own conclusions and be suspicious along the way. Marlene M. Bell delivers this beautifully in Scattered Legacy, with a slow-burning plot and clever, dialogue-driven exposition that never spoon-feeds the reader or spoils the experience for them. In terms of character development, I enjoyed both Alec and Annalisse as characters with complementary skills and strong emotional and moral compasses. Together, they’re an unstoppable duo, and seeing the relationship dynamic put to the test in so many ways during the plot was really enjoyable, and certainly added to the suspense. The plot itself twisted in lots of unexpected and exciting ways, reaching a conclusion I’d only partially guessed at, and was truly satisfied by. Overall, Scattered Legacy is a perfectly balanced mystery read.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Scattered Legacy: Murder in Southern Italy by Marlene Bell is the third book in the Annalisse Drury series. Annalisse is in what appears to be a happy, carefree relationship with Alec Zavos. A trip to Bari, Italy, should have been a relaxing vacation but nothing ever goes as planned. They land bang-smack in the middle of a murder investigation and a conspiracy surrounding Alec’s late father, embezzlement from the company, and the Sicilian Mafia. Throw in a set of historic rosary beads and Annalisse and Alec have their hands full. Together with Bill Drake, a detective and their friend, and Stella the cat, the two must get to the truth but it won’t be an easy journey. Alec and Annalisse are about to uncover something that could change their lives forever.

Scattered Legacy by Marlene Bell is the third in the series and I recommend you read the entire series to get a real feel for the characters and understand the references to other events. This is a story with multiple plots, all separate stories on their own, but winding together to the cliffhanger ending. The characters are wonderful, likable people that you become invested in as you read and the author’s descriptive prose will land you straight in the story, transporting you into the lives of the rich and powerful in Italy. It’s full of action, right from the start, and is a fast-paced, rollercoaster story with an ending that will leave you reeling and desperate for the next installment – I can’t wait for it!

Vincent Dublado

The beauty of Marlene M. Bell’s Scattered Legacy: Murder in Southern Italy is that it knows how to revel in its theme. It’s a mysterious and tension-filled tale about a well-to-do couple that goes on an overseas trip only to have their lives disrupted by murder. Alec Zavos wants to show Annalisse Drury his mother’s birthplace in Bari, Italy. But Josh Jennings, Alec’s former CFO, becomes the main suspect in a murder. Jennings used to be a part of Alec’s top brass but was fired for money laundering. The thing is, Josh gets to Alec first and asks for help. With aid of Bill Drake, Annalisse and Alec’s detective friend, the couple will once again enter into an adrenaline-inducing experience that will involve the legacy of Alec’s father and a man known as The Raven.

Alec and Annalisse’s life as a couple is anything but boring. With just the right amount of detective procedural, Marlene M. Bell makes it a focused story that is rich in atmosphere as Alec and Annalise navigate their way through this new intrigue. It similarly has the right balance of good and disreputable characters with their own strengths and weaknesses. Scattered Legacy is a story with plenty to offer, and it doesn’t simply inject the idea of crime mystery by introducing a dead body. This third installment can work as a stand-alone novel, but Annalisse is one female character that will catch your attention so you want to read the rest of the series. Scattered Legacy is a pleasure for those who enjoy a mystery tale that unravels with a good arc.