A Villa In Sicily: Olive Oil And Murder
By: Fiona Grace

Quick-take: The ultimate rage quit.

Dan's Review

Dr. Audrey Smart is a veterinarian who loves animals but hates customers. Fed up with how her life is going, on a lark, she responds to a Facebook ad to buy a house in Italy for $1. Within a few weeks, she is exiting the airplane with her old life behind her.

The beginning really bothered me. It starts off with her going to her 15-year high school reunion, and her personality and behavior is like she had never matured past 16. She is a doctor that went to Boston College, and yet she is pining for the actor in her class from a performance in the school play from 15 years passed?

Is this real? Supposedly, a lot of people constantly look back on their high school days? Audrey's mannerisms also feel a bit like a teenager despite being 32. Maybe that is why everybody treats her like a kid (a constant complaint of hers)? She keeps acting like one?

My guess is the author wanted to target teens with this book and therefore needed a star that behaves a bit like a teenager. However, simply casting a teen would not work because the star is also a vet. That means she needs to be at least 18 + 8 years of undergrad and doctoral programs. At minimum, she is now 26. However, that won't do. She needs some work experience too --long enough to know how to do the job plus also know she hates her current situation. How about +5 years? Sounds decent. Boom. Star is now 32.

I bet that was the author's exact thought process. She aged the star but not her personality.

The process to move to Italy was pretty entertaining. My SCAM radar was flashing bright red as Dr. Smart just happily clicked through the process to buy a house across the ocean sight-unseen. I'm glad the process did not go smoothly.

The book is basically 2 parts. The first part is the journey and getting settled in Sicily. She fumbles around a lot in her dumpy house, international move, and zero preperation. The second part, a full halfway into the book, the dead body appears with a murder investigation.

The book is not long, and we started what I thought would be the main plot halfway into it. Dr. Audrey Smart may be a decent vet and a mediocre carpentar, but she is not a good detective. It is all just hunches with super patient Italian detectives and what felt like pure dumb luck at the end. It was mostly cringe when coupled with her deep anxiety of everything.

Score: 3/5. This book is a series. Book 1 was ok. I have no desire for book 2.

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