Searching for Dreams

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Remember searching for your dreams when you were twenty? I do. And the search still haunts me, the time when we were young and so was life. The world was our oyster, if we only knew how to break it open. It was a time of new adventure, for travel to exotic lands, a time when angst and turmoil were to die for, a time for a lot of navel gazing, a time to forget books and degrees and jobs, a time to get lost in the salt tunnels of Sicily or in the labyrinths of Moroccan villages or on the horns of a dilemma, a time to flirt with life, a time to find oneself.

Well, Fina Fitzgibbons never had those exotic opportunities and a big part of her is searching. Her father disappeared a few years after 9/11 when Fina was a senior at Packer Collegiate in Brooklyn. At the time, her brother was in med school; her sisters still in grade school, and Fina, the middle child with extraordinary business skills as well as a mind for sleuthing had to help support her family. Shortly after her mother was accused of embezzling funds at the Nameless As Yet Foundation where she worked, her body was found steps away from her front stoop and Fina was on her own, the burden of her mother’s death like a fresh wound.

The book begins when Fina falls into her first case. Literally. She’s a newly licensed PI, barely making ends meet. Goaded by her best friend, Cookie, she investigates the death of a woman whose body Fina finds on the same spot where her mother’s body was discovered seven years previously. (And before I forget to tell you, Serafina Florio is one of Fina’s great-great-grandmothers. Fina shares her surname for a reason—she was named in her honor.)

Meanwhile, back in the nineteenth century. Serafina’s on the move and I’ve been writing her fourth mystery. This one takes place in France in April 1874—coincidentally during the First Impressionist exhibit on the boulevard des Capucines—when she’s commissioned to investigate the tawdry death of a Sicilian countess whose body was found on a back street in Paris. The plot gets complicated because the dead countess is the estranged wife of Serafina’s lover, Loffredo, whom she, Serafina, hasn’t seen in several weeks and their romance becomes deeply compromised—on the rocks, you might say—at least in the beginning of the book.

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