Today I’m thrilled to host one of my favorite people and authors again, my Wild Rose sistah JOANNE GUIDOCCIO. I’ve loved her Gilda Greco mysteries since the very first book came out and now, she’s got a new one that’s rising on the book reading charts of fans everywhere. Sit back and learn a little about Joanne, Gilda, and the series.
All About Baci Perugina
When a book blogger asked me to compare the Gilda Greco Mystery Series to chocolate, I had no problems coming up with the perfect answer: Baci Perguina, the most famous chocolate brand in Italy and popular with Italians worldwide. Perugina’s signature recipe includes whipped milk chocolate, gianduia filling, and chopped hazelnuts all in bittersweet chocolate. Each bacio (kiss) comes individually wrapped in silver and blue packaging and hugged by a poetic love note.
The three books in the series—A Season for Killing Blondes, Too Many Women in the Room, A Different Kind of Reunion—contain romantic elements, humor, and bittersweet moments…A perfect fit for Baci Perugina!
While researching the history of this famous chocolate, I discovered an intriguing back-story.
In 1922, a young chocolatier named Luisa Spagnoli fell in love with Giovanni Buitoni, one of the founders of the Perugina Chocolate Company. He felt the same way but couldn’t pursue the relationship. Luisa’s husband was the other founder!
Luisa decided to create a special bonbon to honor her beloved. She came up with a rounded shape, an entire hazelnut in the center, covered by a dark chocolate exterior. She named it a cazzotto (punch) but Giovanni changed the name to bacio (kiss).
Each chocolate was wrapped in a billet-doux—a love note—that Luisa would send to Giovanni. That simple gesture between the star-crossed lovers spread throughout Italy (and the world), continuing for decades afterward. In the 1960s, English and French translations were added to the original text in Italian. Today, more than 390 inspiring messages can be read in six languages: Italian, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, and Chinese.
Here are some examples:
In dreams as in love all is possible. (J. Arany)
I loved you at first sight. And you smile because you know it. (A. Boto)
Love is like luck: it doesn’t like to be chased. (T. Gautier)
Loves can live on kisses and water. (English proverb)
Till I loved I did not live enough. (Emily Dickinson)
Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind. (William Shakespeare)
More interesting facts:
- • The Baci box was designed by Frederico Seneca, an acclaimed commercial artist of the 1920s. He was inspired by the painting “Gli Innamorati” (The Sweethearts) by Francesco Hayez
- • Baci Perugina chocolates were introduced to the United States at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City.
- • Perugina opened a retail store on Fifth Avenue in New York City circa 1939.
- • Frank Sinatra, Rudolph Valentino, and Clark Gable helped spread the word about Baci to the United States.
- • Baci Perugina chocolates appeared in “Love Story,” one of the most romantic films of the 1970s.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF REUNION
While not usually a big deal, one overlooked email would haunt teacher Gilda Greco. Had she read it, former student Sarah McHenry might still be alive.
Suspecting foul play, Constable Leo Mulligan plays on Gilda’s guilt and persuades her to participate in a séance facilitated by one of Canada’s best-known psychics. Six former students also agree to participate. At first cooperative and willing, their camaraderie is short-lived as old grudges and rivalries emerge. The séance is a bust.
Determined to solve Sarah’s murder, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers shocking revelations that could put several lives—including her own—in danger. Can Gilda and the psychic solve this case before the killer strikes again?
Jim whistled. “You sure don’t like it easy. With all your millions, you’d think this crap could somehow miss landing on you. But you do seem to attract it.” He chuckled. “Might be something to address with a therapist or maybe the psychic you’ve just met.”
“I didn’t just meet Cassandra. I got to know her and her parents very well during those seven months I taught in Parry Sound. They’re good people.” I could tell by his tone that he was dismissive of Cassandra’s psychic powers. While I was also skeptical, I did feel the urge to defend her. She had been so sincere and so open. I couldn’t fathom the notion of Cassandra faking or putting on the airs of a psychic. It wasn’t in her nature to be deceitful.
“I’m sure they are,” Jim said. “But let’s face some facts here. Most psychics need to make a living. I don’t doubt this lady has some intuitive ability—as many women do—but I don’t think it’s enough to catch a murderer. The constable is grasping at straws. What did you say his name was?”
“Leo. Leo Mulligan.”
“Tall, dark-haired guy. Good-looking and a bit of a rascal.”
“He’s evolved.” I immediately regretted my response. Knowing Jim, he would pounce and tease me.
“And you’re interested,” Jim said, chuckling. “What does your boyfriend think about this cozy reunion you’re having with a more evolved constable?”
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A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne Guidoccio