Mary DiNunzio - a brand new partner at Rosato & Associates and a softie at heart - takes on the case of 13-year-old Allegra Gardner. Allegra's older sister Fiona was murdered six years before and Ronnie Stall, a college student who moonlighted as a waiter for Gardner family parties, was imprisoned for the crime. Allegra is convinced that Ronnie is innocent and - having come into a trust fund - decides to hire a lawyer to help him.
Allegra's parents are adamantly opposed to re-opening the case, insisting that Allegra has a destructive and misplaced obsession about justice. Nevertheless Mary forges ahead. There's a big problem however: Ronnie actually pleaded guilty to the crime. Mary talks to Allegra's parents and relatives, Fiona's old boyfriend, Ronnie, Ronnie's mother and members of his church, etc. - in an attempt to find the truth.
Meanwhile, Mary has become engaged to her boyfriend Anthony, though she's not quite sure she wants to get married. Family and friends of the couple, however, are thrilled. This includes Mary's parents, their three friends named Tony ('the three Tonys') and Anthony's mother and brother - all very traditionally Italian. Mary's dad and the three Tonys even get peripherally involved with Allegra's case. Interactions among these folks adds a touch of humor to the plot.
The story visits favorite characters from Scottoline's previous books in a plot that's engaging and has an okay (though not totally believable) resolution. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to mystery fans.
Ratng: 3 stars