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On the heels of a public, broken engagement, Maeve Cleary returns to her childhood home in Hampton Beach, NH. When a dead body turns up behind her mother’s music school, three old friends land on the suspect list. Licking her wounds soon takes a back seat to outrunning the paparazzi who spin into a frenzy, casting her in a cloud of suspicion. Maeve juggles her high school sweetheart, a cousin with a touch of clairvoyance, a no-nonsense detective, and an apologetic, two-timing ex-fiancé. Will the negative publicity impact business at the Music Box— the very place she’d hoped to make a fresh start?

TheBigThrill caught up with author Jill Piscitello to learn more about the first book in her Music Box Mystery Series, A SOUR NOTE:

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

Hampton Beach, NH is a long-loved vacation destination for my family. I hope readers experience some of the same enjoyment in the pages of a story about second chances, resilience, family, and friendship mingled with all the twists and turns of a mystery.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

I am currently working on the next two books in The Music Box series and am looking forward to readers better getting to know a few of Maeve’s family members.

Jill Piscitello

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

I knew that I wanted to write a cozy mystery series but hoped for something different than the more widely used themes such as culinary cozies or bookstore cozies. I love reading those books but knew I needed to write something fresh in a saturated market. Once I arrived at the decision to revolve the series around a music school, the idea ballooned into the many settings my sleuth would drop into for various performances.


A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

I adore romances, but my heart has always belonged to mysteries. Homemakers’ Christmas made me realize how much I enjoyed writing feel-good stories with happy endings. Cozy mysteries allow me to mingle sweet romance, small-towns, and close-knit families with humor and a crime that needs solving.


Jill Piscitello is a teacher, author, and an avid fan of multiple literary genres. Although she divides her reading hours among several books at a time, a lighthearted story offering an escape from the real world can always be found on her nightstand.

A native of New England, Jill lives with her family and three well-loved cats. When not planning lessons or reading and writing, she can be found spending time with her family, trying out new restaurants, traveling, and going on light hikes.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.