The setting of Lisa Scottoline’s Lady Killer feels authentic to me, but that judgment certainly doesn’t come from first-hand experience. Unlike my previous review (of My Latest Grievance, where the family, the location, and the social milieu are all familiar to me), I have to take a lot on faith here: the world of Italian Catholic working-class South Philadelphia is certainly not my own. Lady Killer is firmly in the traditional mystery genre, definitely on the light side, much more a cozy than a hard-boiled thriller, despite the setting. The plot is engaging, the characters are mostly appealing (except for the woman who may or may not be the victim — but even that’s traditional in the mystery genre), and the themes are reassuring.
This 12th novel in Scottoline’s Bennie Rosato/Mary DiNunzio series can be read as a standalone work of fiction, although the context and characters will make somewhat more sense if you’ve read at least some of the preceding stories. But read it anyway; it’s meant to be more entertaining than deep, and it succeeds on its own terms.