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Stephanie Cole / Shelley Costa Books In Order

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Publication Order of Italian Restaurant Mystery Books

You Cannoli Die Once (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Basil Instinct (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Tuscan Cooking School Mystery Books

as Stephanie Cole
Al Dente's Inferno (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Crime of the Ancient Marinara (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Evil Under the Tuscan Sun (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Val Cameron Books

Practical Sins for Cold Climates (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Killer's Guide to Good Works (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

The Knife Sharpener (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Publication Order of Anthologies

The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 5(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, July-August 2023(2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Stephanie Cole is the pseudonym of Shelley Costa, an award-winning mystery author. As Shelley Costa, she has been an Agatha and Edgar Award-nominated writer and cofounder of the Sisters in Crime Northeast Ohio chapter. Costa was brought up as an only child in the small town of Garwood, New Jersey and this is often reflected in the settings of her novels. As a child, she spent much of her time writing in her room when school was in session while most of the summers were spent with her parents on a cabin on the banks of the Delaware River. She particularly loved reading the “Nancy Drew” novels whenever she was not hanging out with her parents who were thespians for a small theater group. After graduating from Rutgers, she worked at the Adult Trade Division of Holt, Rinehart, and Winston. At 33, she graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a doctorate in English. Her degree was on the nature of suspense though she soon reverted back to her first love when she started writing mysteries. Stephanie published her first mystery “You Cannoli Die Once” in 2013. When she is not writing her novels she can be found at the Cleveland Institute of Art where she is a creative writing and screenwriting professor. She also loves to study art history and play the violin.

For Stephanie Cole / Shelley Costa, the journey to authorship was not that easy as she faced obstacles right from the time she was a freshman in college studying English. However, she was determined to prove everyone wrong as she believed she was born to write. While her teachers never thought she would amount to anything, she was stubborn and soon found support for her plays and poetry in her later years in college. She managed to finish her college studies and even took a Ph.D. course. It was while Costa was doing her doctorate degree that she developed her style. During this time her biggest influences were authors that wrote about complex motivations and characters and hence P.D. James was a significant influence. James was like a combination of everything she believed literature ought to be as he wrote what she believed were classic novels with murder. Other authors she looks up to include Graham Greene, Jasper Fforde, Henry James, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, and C.J. Sansom.

Aside from her award-winning novels, Costa’s has also written short fiction that has appeared in the likes of “The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories,” “Crimewave,” “Blood on Their Hands” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents 13 Tales of New American Gothic.” She followed her debut novel with “Basil Instinct” that she published in 2014 before she went on to write the “Valjean Cameron” series. As Stephanie Cole, she wrote the Cozy Mystery “Al Dente’s Inferno” that she published in 2020. She has also written several non-fiction works the best known of which are her works on Edgar Allan Poe such as “The Everything Guide to Allan Poe.” Shelley Costa is best known for writing novels that feature Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum like amateur sleuths. Her protagonists are characterized with a lot of heart and guts as they investigate murder mysteries and find themselves out of their depth. Shelley is also very good at getting right the family dynamics in her novels. For instance, Eve Angelotta of the “Italian Restaurant Mystery” series is a funny, gutsy and inquisitive detective who is a member of an Italian family with all the tolerance and love typical of such families. Shelley currently lives in the suburbs of Cleveland Ohio.

Stephanie Cole’s “Al Dente’s Inferno” is the story of American chef Nell Valenti who has been offered a job in Tuscany. She is to move to the ancient Italian town where she will work to transform a beautiful but run-down villa into a farm to table college. She accepts the offer since her love life and her job in the United States was starting to feel a little stale. Moreover, this was the chance to work under Claudio Orlandini, the acclaimed Italian chef. But what she does not know is that establishing her school may call for more than serving up delicious meals. Nell finds the villa in total disrepair yet she has only been given a day to get it ready for launch day. Chef O does not know of the state of the villa and what work needs to be put in before they can get it into a state to serve the launch dinner to the local dignitaries. Moreover, a filmmaker has been commissioned to advertise and showcase the school and he will be coming along too. It gets worse when Nell learns that the filmmaker is non-other than one of her ex’s who then turns up dead on the eve of launch day. Things could only get even more complicated when Chef O goes missing and the complexities of the murder and disappearance case threaten to shut down the school before it had even opened. She cannot let her big opportunity go to waste and jumps into the ring to investigate the murder and fill Chef O’s big shoes. If she cannot solve the case or have a successful launch, it will not only be her career on the line but also her life.

Shelley Costa’s “You Cannoli Die Once” is a delightful and entertaining mystery about an Italian chef and her cousins that become amateur sleuths to help clear their grandmother of murder charges. Maria Pia Angelotta is a gutsy seventy six-year-old proprietor of Miracolo Northern Italian Restaurant in Philadelphia. She usually serves delicious risotto alla Milanese and luscious veal saltimbocca using recipes that have been in her family for generations. Her head chef has always wanted to add cannoli to their recipe but she has never allowed it. Since the head chef is the spirited Eve Angelotta her granddaughter, they have butted heads over it more than a few times. Despite their fights, they have managed to run a profitable business. But when the old woman’s boyfriend turns up dead in the restaurant’s kitchen, hit on the head by a marble matter, Eve cannot help but wonder if the stubborn and fiery Maria Pia was capable of killing. The police believe the seventy six year old is responsible and arrest her leaving Eve in a quandary. She teams up with her cousins and Joe Beck the sexy attorney to try to untangle a web of lies and find a shrewd killer.

Costa’s “Basil Instinct,” the second of the “Italian Restaurant Mystery” series continues the story of the Angelotta family. In this new novel, Eve Angelotta and her cousins have to solve the mystery of a new sous chef found murdered in their restaurant. It starts with her grandmother Maria Pia getting an invite to join an all Italian all-female culinary society named Belfiere. Eve thinks there is something very weird about it since her initial research suggested that one cannot leave the society once signed up, as it is a lifelong commitment. Teaming up with Landon her cousin, they try to dig up more information on the society but all they get is a two-year-old blog. The article says that Belfiere is a two-century-old secret society whose chefs are taught how to make meals inspired by notorious poisoners. Not long after, the new sous chef Eve had got to help at the restaurant is found dead at Miracolo and they discover that he had been a member of the secretive society. Together with her cousins, Eve now goes on a mission to get to the bottom of the murder mystery. They need to resolve it before Mari Pia signs on to the Belfiere society.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Stephanie Cole / Shelley Costa

3 Responses to “Stephanie Cole / Shelley Costa”

  1. Deborah Duggan: 3 weeks ago

    My husband and I are anxiously awaiting book 4 in the Tuscan Cooking School series. We can’t wait to see what happens next, please advise.

  2. Pat Wiseman: 9 months ago

    I’m ready for the next Tuscan School Mystery. You left Nell and your readers staring at Nell’s father at the end of Evil Under the Tuscan Sun. Where is the fourth book? I hope you haven’t deserted this series. It’s one of my favorites for many reasons.

  3. Barbara Cantara: 2 years ago

    I’m a member of the Bella Vista Library Mystery Book Club in Bella Vista, AR. I suggested we read a mystery book with a recipe included in the book.
    I chose You Cannoli Die Once for my book because I’m Italian and was born and raised in Philadelphia. The book club will be meeting at my house for December, so I suggested we all make a dish from the books we read. My only problem is I don’t like Cannoli, can you suggest another recipe from perhaps another book you’ve written.
    Thank you so much! I was thinking of a pasta dish.


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