Fragolino Fuchsia

a Rome short story (Franki Amato Mysteries 3.5)

Traci Andrighetti


Story Backstory

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Call to Action

About the Author

Also by Traci Andrighetti

Sneak Peak




Copyright © 2017 by Traci Andrighetti

Cover design by Lyndsey Lewellen

Limoncello Press

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

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Story Backstory

Thank you for purchasing Fragolino Fuchsia! I hope you enjoy Franki’s romp through Rome. She normally solves cases in New Orleans, where she lives next door to her BFF Veronica in her sixty-something ex-stripper landlady’s fourplex. But I’ve received so many requests to send her to Italy that I decided to comply.

By the way, Rome is a city I know well. The hotel in the story, Residence Magnolia, is where my husband and I stayed on our honeymoon and where we’ve stayed ever since. The characters of Elio, Silvana, and Enrico are real employees of the hotel who are carissimi (very dear) to us. In fact, Elio introduced me to fragolino, the wild-strawberry liqueur in the title. And I drop a lot of hints about my own Roman adventures in the story, one of which involves annoying gladiators. Another, the Trevi Fountain!

I also introduce a new character in “Fragolino Fuchsia”—Staci Cecchini (pronounced cheh-kee-nee, my nonna’s maiden name). Staci is an assistant professor of Italian, and she will eventually star in her own series when she starts taking students on study abroad trips around Italy, where they will learn about language, culture, and MURDER! I would love it if you took the trips with her, but from the safety of your own home.

Baci e abbracci (XOXO),



This office is dead quiet.” Veronica Maggio, my best friend and employer, sunk into the armchair across from my desk at her PI firm, Private Chicks, Inc. “Like a tomb.”

I could relate to the crypt comment, but not in the silent sense. It was a Monday, and I was on my fifth consecutive hour of helping our sixty-something ex-stripper landlady, Glenda O’Brien, scour the Internet for a “risqué vacay,” so I was pretty much dead inside. “Tulane’s spring break ended today. Shouldn’t David be back at work?”

She threw up a who-knows hand and then let it flop. “He emailed on Saturday and said that he and Standish were going to try to extend their vacation so they could explore Rome. Apparently, they won’t be missing much in their classes, and I didn’t have a problem with him missing a few extra days here.”

“Well, the vassal can stay in Italy, but I need David’s help with some research.” I glared at Glenda, who strut-sashayed into the room like she was taking the stage. “And it seems I’m not the only one.”

Veronica smirked and smoothed her silk floral skirt. “I wish you’d stop calling his friend ‘the vassal.’ You know his name is Standish.”

“Ever since he had to serve David like a serf for fraternity rush, I can’t think of him any other way.” I tied my long brown hair into a knot on top of my head. “Besides, he did serve me on that plantation case, albeit for free instead of a feudal plot.”

Glenda parked her behind in the chair she’d pulled next to mine and flipped open New Orleans Magazine. “Speaking of service, sugar, are you going to book me on that last-minute deal or what?”

“I’m sorry.” The phrase was at odds with the frown on my mouth. “I thought I was a private investigator, not a travel agent.”

“You are between cases, Franki.” Veronica brushed back her blonde locks. “What is this deal, anyway?”

“A Booty Cruise to the Caribbean.” Glenda shimmied for emphasis.

“Booty?” Veronica’s blue eyes brightened. “Sounds like a pirate ship.”

My gaze hit her like a cannonball. “It’s not.”

“Oooh.” Her tone and her brow rose and fell like the sea. “When do you leave?”

“This Wednesday.” Glenda tossed the magazine onto my desk. “So I’ve got to get shaking if I want a new cruise wardrobe.”

I wasn’t clear on whether “get shaking” meant she had to hurry or pick up some stripping shifts, but either way it didn’t make sense. “Why bother? The cruise is clothing-optional.”

“Which means I can browse the men’s sporting goods before I sign up to play.” She flipped her platinum wig. “But a lady has to leave something to the imagination.”

I glanced at her daisy pasties and the tube top she wore as a skirt. “How I agree.”

Veronica nestled into the chair. “Remember our spring break in Rome, Franki?”

“Sophomore year was a decade ago. I only remember the wine and limoncello.”

“What about your illegal swim in the Trevi Fountain?” Her smile was mischievous, verging on malicious. “Surely you haven’t forgotten that.”

My smile was venomous, verging on vicious. “Not with you here to remind me.”

“Miss Franki the former-cop-turned-PI broke the law?” Glenda turned to gawk. “Child, I can’t believe that.”

Veronica kicked her heels onto my desk. “My father got the charges dropped thanks to an attorney at the American Embassy who used to work for his firm. But technically, Franki is a fountain frolicker.”

“I object to that.” The alliteration was annoying, especially at my expense. “I wasn’t just splashing around. I was obsessed with Marcello Mastroianni, and I was reenacting his fountain scene with Anita

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