Introducing Vince Castelli: Hazel Rose’s Sort-Of Love Interest

… he’s tall, broad-shouldered, with a shock of white hair and slate blue eyes. Vince’s heady combination of Brooklyn and southern gentleman served him well in law enforcement and in romance. Especially since he wasn’t always a gentleman . . . not when it counted.

This is how Hazel Rose, heroine of Murder at the Book Group, describes Vince Castelli, her on-again, off-again lover, Vince is a retired homicide detective with the Richmond, Virginia police force who now pens true-crime accounts.

Hazel attributes their sporadic relationship to their inability to get along. She doesn’t offer details as to why they don’t get along but the reader can guess that the real problem is Hazel’s cold feet about committing to a permanent relationship. She’s been married four times and isn’t eager to make a fifth trip to the altar, only for the relationship to sour soon afterwards. Does she love Vince? She doesn’t want to commit to that either, but she definitely has a soft spot for him. One may conclude that Hazel “arranges” conflicts in order to keep Vince at arm’s length (metaphorically speaking—remember, she does appreciate his “ungentlemanly” side).

Vince clearly loves Hazel and Hazel’s cousin Lucy is relentless in her efforts to get the two of them together on a forever basis. But Vince isn’t going to wait indefinitely—he’s been spotted with Molly, a petite woman with a cloud of flaming red hair.

When Carlene Arness dies after drinking poisoned tea at a book group meeting, Vince finds out that Hazel was there and is back in her life in a flash. He’s surprised by her determination that Carlene didn’t commit suicide. He also suspects that Hazel’s hell bent on finding the killer on her own. Someone needs to protect her and he figures that it might as well be him. Not that Hazel makes that an easy task.

At first, Hazel sees Vince as a liaison with the police, but soon realizes that she needs him for more—much more.

Will solving the mystery of Carlene’s death put Hazel and Vince on the road to happily-ever-after?

But what about the fiery Molly?

 

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