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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.