Confession is Murder by Peg Cochran is the story of Lucille Mazzarella, a 50 something Italian lady who lives somewhere in New Jersey. Her life revolves round church, family and above all, food. Both the making and eating of it.
Lucille Mazzarella works in the church shop. Her husband owns a pest control business and she has just kicked him out for blowing away her life savings. Her teenage daughter is a headphone adorned, eyebrow pierced girl who just says ‘Yo’ all the time. Lucille is somewhat obsessed with food – pasta, pasta and more pasta. If you have ever read the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, you must be familiar with the characters of Lula and Grandma Mazur. While Lula and Grandma are sidekicks, Lucille, who could be their sister, is the main character in Peg Cochran’s book. She talks funny, in double negatives. Almost every page has a sentence or two of double negatives spouted by Lucille. And she speaks slang like ‘on account of’. Not sure if this is supposed to be Jersey slang, or working class slang, but it can get old pretty soon.
The town of New Providence where Lucille lives is near Elizabeth or Summit, and the description ends there. Almost everyone who lives there seems to be Italian. No other familiar Jersey mainstays like the ubiquitous Route 1 or the Turnpike appear anywhere in the book.
What about the story itself? Lucille finds a dead man in the church confessional. He turns out to be her brother in law, and her husband’s partner. The police arrest her friend’s son, who is also her daughter’s boyfriend. Her friend is devastated and Lucille goes bumbling along trying to exonerate Tony Jr. Lucille is not very fond of her sister in law, who is very fancy schmancy. As Lucille and her friend Flo try to get Tony Jr. out of jail, many new facts surface. There’s a possibility the dead guy was cheating on his wife. The police let the kid go and then suspect Lucille’s husband. So her next task is to try and free him. Solving the crime is the only way Lucille’s going to be free of this whole mess.
Meanwhile, the detective on the case is an old flame of Lucille’s. A flame from forty years ago, but she’s still got the hots for him. I don’t know why it was necessary to show Lucille as a ‘hot for it’ character since she is in her mid fifties, married and with a grown child. What’s more, the detective also seems to be amorous and talks in a suggestive manner with Lucille. This part of the character was hard to digest. Especially because Lucille seems to be pretty religious, calling out to every possible saint in the course of a day.
Could I get through Confession is Murder? Yes. The suspense was alright, and all the loose ends were tied up well in the end. Overall, this book is an easy read if you don’t give too much thought to the main character.