Local author's novel 'The Sicilian Inheritance' loosely based on relative's murder

ByNydia Han and Heather Grubola WPVI logo
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Philadelphia author Jo Piazza's new novel 'The Sicilian Inheritance' loosely based on great great grandmother's murder
'The Sicilian Inheritance' by local author Jo Piazza is an adventure and mystery loosely based on the murder of her great great grandmother.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you are looking for a great book look no further.

Launching the week of April 1st is a novel called "The Sicilian Inheritance" by local author, Jo Piazza.

It's an adventure, a mystery and an inspiring and empowering story about women, their relationships, their place in the world and how when they come together, they can do just about anything.

"The story is loosely based on my own great great grandmother's murder in Sicily 100 years ago," she said,

It's Piazza's 12th book and her most personal.

"I just took this little nugget, this woman who was left behind in Sicily, her husband came to America, and what would life be like," she explained. "And then I brought in a modern day woman from Philadelphia. Sarah, she is a chef and a butcher with a restaurant in Philly and she goes back to Sicily to try to solve this murder mystery and also claim her family's Sicilian inheritance."

Piazza cataloged her own journey to Sicily on Instagram.

"It is filled with delicious food, delicious wine, gorgeous landscapes," she said.

And while the novel will transport you to Italy, there are plenty of Philadelphia references.

"It is genuinely the most Philly book that I have ever written," said Piazza. "You know, a lot of authors will write Philly, but they're not from here and they're all like it's just Wawa and cheese steaks. And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. We've got the Bok Building, we've got Snack Time. We've got real deep Philadelphia cuts in this book."

Piazza collaborated with Cardenas Oil and Vinegar Taproom in South Philadelphia to even create "The Sicilian Inheritance" olive oil blend.

"I decided to write this book after I had my first daughter," she said. "And I wanted to write the kind of strong women that I hope she grows up to be."

The book is a thrilling adventure and good old fashioned mystery that centers on the power of women and sisterhood.

"It's a romp to Sicily, but there's this huge theme within it of women's ambition and women who want more out of the world, and how they will fight to get it, but also how women will band together to work to lift each other up," she said.

In addition to the book, Piazza put her investigative journalist hat on and created a true crime podcast called "The Sicilian Inheritance".

It chronicles her journey to Sicily to try to actually solve her great great grandmother's murder in real life. Two episodes of that are out now.