A Day in the Life of Francesca “Franki” Amato by Traci Andrighetti

Limoncello Yellow A day in my life? Okay, well, I can tell you about today, but I’ll need to backtrack a bit. Now, keep in mind that my motto is “When life gives you lemons, make Limoncello.” But after the events of the past few weeks, I’m sort of inclined to skip the “making” Limoncello part and go straight to drinking it.

It all started on the morning of December 26th in Austin, Texas, when my police partner and I responded to a 911 call reporting a woman in distress at a local motel. Let’s just say that a woman was in distress, but that woman was me—after I found my boyfriend, Vince, at the scene. And the woman? Oh, she was there too. But as it so happens, she wasn’t distressed at all. Quite the contrary.

Later that day I gave notice to the police department. Don’t think I’m a flake or anything, because I’m not. The thing is, I had issues with certain aspects of the job before the incident at the motel, like the routine violence. There’s just no getting used to, say, being punched in the face on Halloween night by a drunken sorority girl who—to add insult to injury—said she’d thought I was a civilian in an “unsexy cop” costume.

The time had come for a complete life do-over. So, I accepted my best friend Veronica’s standing offer to work at her startup detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc., in New Orleans. Then I packed up my 1965 cherry-red Mustang convertible and set off with my Cairn terrier, Napoleon, for The Big Easy, where I had fully intended to laisser les bons temps rouler.

But when I turned onto my new street in the Uptown neighborhood, an ominous pall was cast on my partying plans. (Did I mention that I’m somewhat superstitious?) Yes, there was a jazz funeral in full swing, so to speak. It turns out that the apartment Veronica had helped me rent in her ex-stripper landlady’s fourplex was right across the street from a creepy cemetery. And, thankfully, a bar.

So, on a typical day, I’m greeted by the cemetery’s spooky statues and ghoulish gargoyles before I drive to work in the French Quarter. Then, after I park, I usually have to dodge the ever-present hordes of tourists, drunks, crazies, artists, and mimes as I make my way to the office. I have to steer clear of the beignet vendors, too, because I just can’t resist those puffy, powdered sugar–covered pastries. (You know Italians and dough products.)

Sometimes, I stop by Ponchartrain Bank to do some banking and visit with my teller friend, Corinne. All right, so maybe I also go there to see Bradley Hartmann, the dashingly handsome bank president. But it’s not because I’m desperate or anything . . . At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

You see, I’m 29, Italian-American and single. The single part would be okay if it weren’t for the fact that, according to my nonna, 29 is really 45 in Italian years. I know because she reminds me that I’m a zitella, or old maid, every chance she gets. My parents don’t try to stop her either, because I’m their only daughter, and they want to see me settled. I’d like that too, but not the way they would—that is, with a baby in one arm and another in the proverbial oven while I stir a pot of ragù in my red and white gingham apron. The problem is that my family has roots in Nola. So, my nonna has set me up with a slew of Sicilian suitors, which means that in addition to the tourists et al., I’m often dodging blind dates on my way to work (that’s right, she gives out my office address, just in case).

Once I’m safely at my desk, I check my mail, make some calls, update case files and things like that. Mostly, I do a lot of research, unless our part-time assistant, David, is available to help.

But today is different. Veronica and I are investigating the homicide of Jessica Evans, the beautiful young manager of a local LaMarca, the famous international boutique. Jessica was found there, strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When I went to LaMarca to investigate, I found something the cops had overlooked—a sinister item with grave implications. The only one who can help me make sense of the murder (and, incidentally, my love life) is Odette Malveaux. Who’s she? Rumor has it that she’s the descendent of Marie Laveau, New Orleans’ legendary voodoo queen. So, I’m about to go to a voodoo store on Bourbon Street to find her.

No big deal. Right?


You can read more about Franki in Limoncello Yellow, the first book in the “Franki Amato” mystery series, published by Gemma Halliday Publishing. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

Book blurb:

Francesca “Franki” Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn’t cut out for a life on the police force. So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica’s detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki’s hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. When she’s not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of “good Italian boys”—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a Voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on February 1, and you will be entered to win a copy of either the print OR digital version of Limoncello Yellow. One winner will be chosen at random.

Meet the author
Traci Andrighetti is the author of the Franki Amato mystery series. In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a PhD in Traci-AndrighettiApplied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime—writing, that is.

If she’s not hard at work on her next novel, Prosecco Pink, Traci is probably watching her favorite Italian soap opera, eating Tex Mex or sampling fruity cocktails, and maybe all at the same time. She lives in Austin with her husband, young son (who desperately wants to be in one of her books) and three treat-addicted dogs.

To keep in touch with Traci (and Franki!), be sure to sign up for her newsletter at her website or on her Facebook page.


Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for book giveaways, contests, posting about discounted books and some of my reading musings.

56 responses to “A Day in the Life of Francesca “Franki” Amato by Traci Andrighetti

  1. Sounds like a good read!

  2. This sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win.

  3. carletta culp

    This book sounds like a real voodoo page turner. I love mysteries, suspense, thrillers, interesting characters and with some humor thrown in. Thank you for the chance to win.

  4. Debbie Carnes

    This book sounds like something I’d really enjoy. I’d love to win it

  5. Voodoo I love the hint of paranormal mixed in my cozies. Definitely need to add this one to my TBR list.

  6. Heather Ashby

    THis looks SO GOOD, Traci! LOVE your humor and your voice! Write ON!

  7. Oh my..my t-b-r list is out of control thanks to you. 🙂

  8. Barbara Jones

    Sounds great! Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  9. sooooo need to read this one!!!!
    thank you for the giveaway!!!!

  10. I like starting out with the first book in a series and this sounds like a series I will enjoy.

  11. I love the title! The New Orleans setting sounds like a fun mix of mystery and humor! I can’t wait to read this one!

  12. Nancy Funkhouser

    sounds like a fun novel and I also would love to start a new series.

  13. I can certainly get the character’s problem with her nonna. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood, and those ladies in black are a dangerous bunch. I like the touch of paranormal she’s giving us also.

    Toss my hat in Dru, I’d love to win this one.

  14. Sounds like my kind of read. Thanks for having this giveaway.

  15. This sounds like a fun new series. I think we’d really enjoy it. Please enter my name for the chance to win. Thanks! carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

  16. Anything Italian, I’m in. New Orleans is near the top of my wish-I-could-visit-domestically list. Love to get in at the beginning of a series. Print would be wonderful to receive. Thanks.

  17. Wow, this has caught my attention with the humor, mystery, and characters. I just added this to my tbr list. Keep writing. Thank you for the review and giveaway.

  18. I am not Italian, but have friends who are —–after confirmation the next white dress must be a wedding gown —-or else. This does look like a fun book and new series.

  19. Wow This excerpt really grabbed my attention. Have to get it now!!!

  20. I love books set in New Orleans—sound like a good one.
    suefarrell.farrell@gmail.com

  21. This is a new author for me and the book sounds great. Thanks for posting.

  22. I love Francesca’s motto!

  23. Cynthia E. Blain

    I was hooked on this book from the moment I first saw the title as I absolutely love the liqueur Limoncello. (Mostly I use it in desserts, yes, really!!) This book sounds so great and I would definitely love to win it. Traci’s book sounds just like the kind of author that I love to read and I can’t wait to get this book read and be ready for her next and the next one after that. Just such an inviting cover and title that you just know the book is going to be super.

    Thanks for including me in this contest. Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    Cynthia

  24. Sounds like fun with a touch of paranormal, I like the sound of this one. Thanks for the chance to win.

  25. Stacie Amelotte

    Love adding new to me authors to my tbr list. Looks like a fun read. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  26. Jennie Knight

    Wow, this sounds like a full tilt energy packed read. You caught me in the first paragraph.

  27. This sounds kike fun reading! I read cozies, a lot of them, and I’m a bit jaded with the bumbling, stumbling lucky amateur sleuth that help the police solve the murder/mystery while totally disregarding proper ( and common sense) investigative action. Having the heroine be a former police officer turned PI will be refreshing. Thanks for the heads up on 1st in new series and the giveaway chance.

  28. contest is closed.