Papa Pacelli's Pizzeria Series

Patti Benning

Eleanora Pacelli takes over her late grandfather’s pizzeria in a small New England town, and soon finds herself mired in mysteries. These delicious tales will have you reaching for another slice of murder and mayhem!

Classic Crust Murder

With the pizzeria thriving and old friendships rekindled, Eleanora Pacelli is finally beginning to settle into a quiet life in the small town of Kittiport, Maine, but her quiet contentment doesn’t last long. Ellie’s whole world is turned upside down when her best friend, covered in blood, terrified, and babbling about a masked assailant, shows up at her back door in the middle of the night, to lead her to a gruesome murder scene.

As the police close in, Ellie works hard to prove that her friend is innocent, but when the questions begin to pile up, even she starts to have her doubts. Just who was this masked assailant? Why was Shannon meeting a strange man in the woods at night? Is her friend really as innocent as she claims?

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Italian Wedding Murder

Smoked Gouda Murder

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and Eleanora Pacelli has more on her plate than ever, and when her grandmother takes a nasty spill late one night, Ellie’s plate goes from full to overflowing. She finds herself starting to feel a bit overwhelmed as she tries to nurse her precious Nonna back to health, in addition to performing her usual tasks at the pizzeria. When her grandmother returns from the hospital, she surprises Ellie with something that could change her life forever.

Just when it begins to seem that things can’t possibly get worse, a tragic death occurs at Papa Pacelli’s. Ellie and her best friend witness a horrific act, and realize that both of their lives could be in danger. Will they find the killer before the killer finds them?

Gourmet Holiday Murder

Eleanora Pacelli is thrilled to finally be the official owner of Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria. In an effort to make it feel more real, she decides to make some small changes to the pizzeria, and hires a contractor to install a pickup window in the back.

With Christmas drawing near, Ellie’s focus is split between construction plans and preparations for her favorite holiday. The giant pine tree in front of the Pacelli house is just begging to be decorated, and of course there are gifts to buy for all of the people who form her extended family in Kittiport.

Ellie’s holiday cheer comes to an abrupt halt when a terrible tragedy occurs during construction. All of her plans for the pizzeria expansion, as well as holiday festivities, get put on hold as she and Russell race to find the killer before someone else gets hurt, but the killer is closer than she ever imagined.

Four Cheese Murder

As winter ravages northern Maine, the small coastal town of Kittiport has to pull together to offer help to the less fortunate. When Eleanora Pacelli hears about a local charity dedicated to supplying winter clothes, blankets, and warm food to those in need, she jumps at the chance to get more involved with the community – and create some good publicity for Papa Pacelli’s at the same time.

Tragedy strikes at the local community center while Ellie is dropping off a donation, and she finds herself embroiled in a case that is shrouded in mystery. With the sheriff out of commission, she has to rely on her own intuition and skills to find out the truth about the victim’s unusual death.

Hand Tossed Murder

With the weather starting to warm up and spring approaching, Eleanora Pacelli is busy finalizing her plans for another renovation to Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria, but she ends up having to put her plans on hold temporarily to prepare for a week-long visit by some family friends.

When Chuck and Kat Norman first arrive, the older couple don’t seem to be anything but the nice and normal people that Ellie expected. It isn’t until the first body turns up that she realizes that the couple might not be exactly what they seem. As the sheriff does everything in his power to track down the killer, Ellie and her grandmother have to come to terms with the fact that one of their friends might just be the prime suspect in a double homicide.

Exotic Pizza Murder

After a long and cold winter, spring has finally arrived in the small coastal town of Kittiport, Maine. Eleanora Pacelli has been waiting eagerly for the warmer weather; it means that she can finally open the brand new patio attached to the pizzeria.

The new renovation is a hit with her customers, and Ellie is in the middle of a celebratory dinner with the sheriff, Russell Ward, when disaster strikes. A man has been found murdered in his home. Russell has to drop everything in an attempt to solve the case before the killer strikes again.

Meanwhile at the pizzeria, outdoor seating has the desired effect of attracting more business, but that means that the crew at Papa Pacelli’s is busier than ever. Ellie makes the difficult decision to hire a new employee, but almost immediately after his arrival notices several suspicious things happening around the restaurant.

Ellie is torn between doing what she can to help Russell solve the mysterious deaths that are plaguing the town, and solving her own problems of mysteriously disappearing cash. She is beginning to wish that spring had never come to Kittiport…

Fiesta Pizza Murder

Things at Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria are going well. Owner, Eleanora Pacelli, is proud that the little restaurant has grown and thrived under her management. Not only is Ellie succeeding in business; her relationship with the town’s sheriff is blossoming, and she’s beginning to hope that they might have a real future together.

When Russell’s parents come to town unexpectedly, Ellie is excited to meet them. Unfortunately, his mother’s first impression of her isn’t a good one. She’s just thinking things can’t get any worse when a body is found, the body of someone with whom Ellie had gotten into an argument the day before.

As Eleanor tries to uncover the killer, she begins to doubt her relationship with the sheriff, just as people around town begin to doubt her.

Garlic Artichoke Murder

Wedding bells are pealing madly, and Eleanora Pacelli has some important and potentially life-changing decisions to make in the near future, but she isn’t sure whether or not she wants her life to change. She’s happy being the owner of her late grandfather’s former business, Papa Pacelli’s, the best pizza joint in town, and her relationship with Kittiport’s sheriff, Russell Ward, is going well. Life, as far as she is concerned, is as near to perfect as it can get and she doesn’t think that she’s ready to risk jeopardizing her current situation.

Change is coming for Ellie, whether she is ready for it or not, and how she handles it can set her course for a lifetime. When a joyful celebration culminates in the death of a friend, Ellie grapples with the shock of loss, and the toll that it takes on her closest relationships. With a killer stalking the streets of Kittiport once again, she realizes just how fragile both life and love can be.

On the Wings of Murder

Eleanora Pacelli and her grandmother embark on a last-minute summer trip to Florida after a particularly stressful week at home in Kittiport. They are both looking forward to a nice, relaxing week in the sun, but things go downhill fast when the elderly Ann Pacelli vanishes from the hotel without a trace.

In the search for her missing grandmother, Ellie makes new friends and stumbles upon a new business opportunity that might change Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria forever. With a deadline inching ever closer, she has to rely on the kindness and help of complete strangers to have any hope of finding Nonna before it’s too late.

Mozzarella and Murder

Eleanora Pacelli is back in Maine after a much-needed and well-deserved vacation in Miami. She’s looking forward to picking up her pets from the pet sitter, settling in at home, and seeing Russell Ward, Kittiport’s sheriff and her boyfriend. Still reeling from the events of the past week, Ellie is very much looking forward to a nice, quiet homecoming.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for her to realize that peace and quiet is something that she may not have for quite a while. After the startling discovery of a body, Ellie’s family is endangered in a manner that no one expected. After one of them witnesses a crime, it seems the killer will go to any lengths to silence them…permanently.


***Red pepper on a veggie supreme. OR White Cheese and Rosemary and garlic.

A Thin Crust of Murder

Pizzeria owner Eleanora Pacelli’s plate is full, as she prepares to open her second restaurant. The busy go-getter is also consumed with thoughts of an upcoming engagement announcement, and a best friend who is behaving more than a bit oddly. Imagine her dismay when, on top of it all, she discovers that a new restaurant is opening soon, just a couple of blocks away!

Determined to start out on the right foot with the owner of Hot Diggity Dog, the new hot dog shop in town, Ellie decides to stop by with a gift and introduce herself. Her well-intentioned errand goes horribly awry, however, when she inadvertently discovers a body in the new restaurant.

Not knowing whom to trust, Ellie and the sheriff discreetly try to puzzle out what happened, and who the killer could be. Kittiport once again has a murderer roaming the streets…who will be the next victim if the duo doesn’t solve the mystery in time?

Pretzel Pizza Murder

Eleanora Pacelli’s life in Kittiport, Maine, has settled into a comfortable routine. She’s happy, if sometimes a little bit too busy for her liking. Her circumstances change, however, when an unexpected visitor shows up at her home, claiming not only to be a relative, but to have a stake in the family business.

With Papa Pacelli’sPizzeria and her livelihood on the line, the one person who could have helped her is brutally murdered, and Ellie doesn’t know where to turn or what to do when a scheming relative tries to take over the pizzeria. If she doesn’t come up with a plan quickly, her life may never be the same, and her future is shaky at best.


Their orders were slowed down even more due to the fact that they had a new recipe of the week – pretzel pizza with a cheese stuffed crust. To make it, she had to modify her grandfather’s crust recipe just a bit, and each batch of new dough had to be left to rise for nearly an hour. Even once the dough was ready, the pizza took a while to make, since they had to fold the mozzarella cheese into the crust by hand.

It was delicious, though. Ellie made herself and her employees one for their early dinner break. With the salt-dotted crust, the generous dollop of their homemade red sauce, topped with extra cheese, locally made pepperoni and mushrooms, it was a mouthwatering feast. She didn’t even want to know how many calories are in each slice, and even though the pizza took a while to make, she knew that they would bring the special recipe back next year. Who could resist a gooey, cheesy, pretzel flavored pizza?

Parmesan Pizza Murder

Eleanora Pacelli is doing her best to keep up with the whirlwind that is her life. Juggling a fiancé, a full-time job, and the looming opening of a second restaurant isn’t easy, and she just has to keep reminding herself that things will calm down – eventually.


The frantic pace of Ellie’s life is brought crashing to a halt when someone she knew personally is found dead in what first looks to be an accident, but swiftly reveals itself to be something more. Ellie, along with the entire Papa Pacelli’s crew, is shocked at the loss of one of their own, and she will rest at nothing to track down the person responsible and make sure they answer for the murder that they committed.




Many thanks to Michelle Mabry who suggested the delicious cauliflower crust pizza. It’s one of the best alternatives to a normal pizza crust that I’ve ever had. I recommend it to anyone who’s looking to enjoy a pizza without all of the carbs. Who would have thought that eating pizza could be so healthy?

Breakfast Pizza Murder

After months of stressful planning, it’s finally time for Eleanora Pacelli to open her new restaurant. Leaving Maine behind, she and her friends fly to Florida for thegrand opening of her second Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria location. At first an overwhelming success, her new restaurant is soon crippled by disaster when a customer is found dead.

Ellie can only hope that the murderer isn’t one of her new employees, as she struggles to solve the crime before the pizzeria’s reputation is wrecked. While she races against the clock to find a killer, she also has to come to terms with a permanent change in her personal life when she says a tearful goodbye to a member of her own family.

Halloween Pizza Murder

Eleanora Pacelli is back from Florida, and is looking forward to celebrating Halloween at home in Maine. With the second Papa Pacelli’s grand opening out of the way, she’s ready to start focusing on her upcoming wedding, and is looking forward to spending some quality time with friends.

When a brutal murder happens not far from her house only days after she gets back, the entire town of Kittiport is shocked. Even more frightening, Ellie swears that she saw the victim… hours after she had already been killed. When she sees the mysterious woman in white again, she is convinced that she has seen a ghost, and is determined to help the victim find peace by solving the crime herself.



Autumn Harvest Pizza


She started by preheating the oven, giving it ample time to heat up as she prepared the ingredients. She cut the butternut squash and eggplant into cubes before peeling the skin off of the fresh garlic cloves. After tossing all of the of the ingredients into a glass bowl, she drizzled olive oil and sprinkled in some dried rosemary, then tossed the vegetables until they were well-coated.


Then she spread the vegetables onto a pan and put it into the oven to roast them. While she waited, she cleaned up the mess that she had made. Just before the vegetables were ready to come out, she took one of the balls of the classic Papa Pacelli’s thin crust dough out of the refrigerator and rolled it into the correct shape. She put the pizza pan into the oven so the crust could begin to pre-bake.


A few minutes later, she took both the vegetables in the pizza crust out of the oven and spread marinara sauce over the crest before placing the vegetables on top. She added crumbs of feta cheese over the toppings, then put the entire dish back into the oven.

Thanksgiving Pizza Murder

With her grandmother in Florida and Russell’s brother and sister-in-law going out of town for the holiday, Eleanora Pacelli is looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving dinner with Kittiport’s sheriff. All of that changes when a handful of unexpected guests show up at her house, including her ex-fiance, Kenneth Aubrey.

Thinking that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, Ellie realizes how wrong she is when a body turns up in the marina. The victim is someone she was close to, and she tells herself that she will stop at nothing to find the killer, but when the evidence begins to point towards someone she loves, she begins to think that there are some mysteries that are better left unsolved.

Christmas Pizza Murder

It’s Christmas in Kittiport, and Eleanora Pacelli is looking forward to spending the holiday with her fiancé and his family. However, when a stranger is spotted around town asking for her cousin, Ellie sees her hopes for a relaxing holiday begin to slip away from her.

She doesn’t know if she’ll be able to solve a month-old murder in time to prove her cousin’s innocence, and as the clues reveals themselves, Ellie begins to wonder if Darlene has been telling the truth about anything since she showed up on her doorstep the month before.

Family troubles are the mark of a stressful holiday season in this latest nail-biting installment of Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria Series!

A Crispy Slice of Murder

It’s a new year, and Eleanor Pacelli is looking forward to making it her best one yet. In a couple of weeks she’ll be marrying the man of her dreams, and her best friend is just months away from welcoming her first child into the world.

Ellie’s storybooklife comes crashing to a halt when her soon-to-be brother in law goes missing. When she receives a note from the kidnapper, she has only hours to meet his demands. If the young bride-to-be makes one mistake, James might pay for it with his life.

Lobster Pizza Murder

Eleanora Pacelli’s pleasant weekend is shattered when a horrific car accident spins right into her front yard. She reached the victim in time to hear his final words; a claim that his accident wasn’t an accident at all, but murder.

Ellie tries desperately to get to the bottom of the incident and figure out what really happened, but is stumped when all signs point away from foul play. When the evidence says one thing, but her gut and the dying words of the victim say another, what’s a gal to do?

Pizza, Weddings, and Murder

Eleanora Pacelli is only days away from exchanging wedding vows with her fiancé; Russell Ward, the handsome sheriff of Kittiport. With pre-wedding jitters in full swing, the last thing she needs is for something to go wrong.


When disaster strikes, Ellie is wholly unprepared. The death of a woman who looks just like her shakes her to the core. A string of unfortunate incidents follows in the aftermath, and she’ll need the help of those closest to her to figure out whether she is just unlucky, or if someone is really trying to sabotage her wedding – and is willing to kill her in the process.



Alfredo Parmesan chicken pizza with bacon bits sprinkled over the cheese.

Pizza, Paradise, and Murder

Just days after her wedding, Eleanora and her new husband, Russell Ward, are preparing to leave for a two week long honeymoon in a tropical paradise. A last-minute call forces a change of plans, and the two find themselves making a detour for Florida.


The situation is even worse than they could have imagined, and it seems like the second pizzeria is once again a target. Devastated by a friend’s death, Ellie puts her honeymoon on hold and does everything she can to find the killer before someone else get hurt, or worse.


chicken bacon ranch pizza with asiago and provolone cheese.

Meat Lovers and Murder

Eleanora Ward and her new husband are back from their honeymoon and are looking forward to a few days of peace and quiet before diving back into their busy lives. Their sweet respite ends abruptly, however, when a single gunshot echoes through their neighborhood.

Ellie and Russell are drawn into a mysterious murder case, with a personal touch, when they find their neighbor dead in his residence. Unsure of their own safety, they have to work together to catch the killer while Ellie also juggles responsibilities to her very pregnant best friend, and to the pizzeria, making for one very chaotic return from paradise.

Classic Crust Murder

Spring in Kittiport, Maine, is a welcome interlude from the snow and freezing oceanside winds that have plagued the small town for months. The entire town seems to be in good spirits, not least of all, Eleanora Ward, who is newly married and on the verge of taking the next major step in her life.


When what should have been a fun class ends in disaster, Ellie watches helplessly as Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria is shut down and the very people she thought she could trust the most are blamed for a tragic crime. Will she be able to put her emotions aside for long enough to figure out who the murderer really is?