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Accused (Rosato & DiNunzio Series #1)
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Accused (Rosato & DiNunzio Series #1)

3.6 68
by Lisa Scottoline

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New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Lisa Scottoline revolutionized crime fiction when she introduced her all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates, thrilling readers with her twisty, fast-paced plots and capturing their hearts with her cast of strong yet totally relatable female characters. Fans have been clamoring for more stories


New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Lisa Scottoline revolutionized crime fiction when she introduced her all-female law firm of Rosato & Associates, thrilling readers with her twisty, fast-paced plots and capturing their hearts with her cast of strong yet totally relatable female characters. Fans have been clamoring for more stories with the characters they've come to know and love, so Bennie Rosato, Mary DiNunzio, Judy Carrier, and Anne Murphy are back with all cylinders firing in Accused. They'll face their most challenging and dangerous case ever. It begins with an astonishing request from a thirteen-year-old prospective client.  Allegra Gardner’s sister Fiona was murdered six years ago.  It seemed like an open-and-shut case: the accused, Lonnie Stall, was seen fleeing the scene; his blood was on Fiona and her blood was on him; most damningly, Lonnie Stall pleaded guilty.  But Allegra believes Lonnie is innocent and has been wrongly imprisoned. Taking on the case seems foolhardy to Mary DiNunzio, because the Gardner family is one of the richest and most powerful in the country and Allegra’s parents do not believe in reopening this case.  But the Rosato & Associates firm can never resist an underdog.  Was justice really served all those years ago?  It will take a team of unstoppable female lawyers, plus one thirteen-year-old genius, to find out.  Accused kicks off an annual fall series featuring the new adventures of Rosato & Associates, delivering all the emotion, action, and humor we've come to expect from one of the best writers in the business.

From The New York Times bestselling author comes a much-anticipated new thriller featuring the all-female law firm, Rosato & Associates

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mary DiNunzio faces two daunting changes in bestseller Scottoline’s intriguing 12th novel featuring the all-woman Philadelphia law firm of Rosato & Associates (after 2010’s Think Twice): she has become a partner in the firm, which affects her relationships with former fellow associates; and boyfriend Anthony Rotunno gets a lot more serious. Mary’s first client as a partner is 13-year-old Allegra Gardner, who wants to retain the firm to prove that Lonnie Stall, imprisoned for the murder of Allegra’s older sister, Fiona, six years earlier, is innocent and to find the real killer. Allegra may be precocious, and she has her own funds, but her wealthy parents oppose her actions directly and forcibly. Myriad legal and ethical problems complicate the case, including Stall’s own confession, as does the help, wanted and unwanted, of the DiNunzio and Rotunno families. Mary follows her heart and gut into danger in this welcome series return after three stand-alones. First printing of 400,000. Agent: Molly Friedrich, Friedrich Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"A showcase for a heroine who aptly describes herself as "Nancy Drew with a J.D."—Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
After a three-year break to write barn-burning crossover thrillers (Don't Go, 2013, etc.), Scottoline returns to those ornaments of the Philadelphia bar, Rosato & Associates, with an utterly characteristic spin on that old chestnut, the jailed innocent wrongfully convicted of murder. Making partner is even a bigger deal for Mary DiNunzio than she could have expected. For one thing, her live-in boyfriend, Anthony Rotunno asks her to marry him. For another, she lands a most peculiar case courtesy of a client who wants her to spring sometime caterer Lonnie Stall from Graterford Prison, where he's spent the past six years, ever since he pleaded guilty in the stabbing death of Fiona Gardner. What makes the case peculiar is the client: Fiona's kid sister Allegra, who was just 7 at the time of the murder. She was already then convinced that Stall was innocent. Now that she's turned 13, Allegra, "your basic poor little rich girl," is able to tap a trust fund that allows her to pay a law firm to reopen the case. Allegra, a matter-of-fact prodigy who keeps bees and fears nothing, is the best thing about this story. The second best is her parents, who are so determined to keep her from reopening old wounds that they take some pretty drastic steps against Mary and Bennie Rosato and threaten even more. Unfortunately, the battle royal within the Gardner family, with Rosato & Associates as collateral damage, is generally subordinated to Mary's sleuthing, which is surprisingly sober, methodical and uninteresting, right down to the unmasking of an unimpressive killer. Comfort food for the faithful, with less thrills and more detection than most of the firm's cases (Think Twice, 2010, etc.): a showcase for a heroine who aptly describes herself as "Nancy Drew with a J.D."

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Rosato & DiNunzio Series , #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



CONGRATULATIONS! read the banner, but Mary DiNunzio still couldn’t believe she’d made partner, even at her own party. She felt stunned, happy, and hopeful, ready to leave behind her doubts, insecurities, and guilt. Okay, maybe not her guilt. Guilt was like her handbag, occasionally heavy, but something she just felt better carrying around. Same with her insecurities, with which she had grown secure. As for her doubts, she remained doubtful. On second thought, it remained to be seen whether becoming a partner would change Mary DiNunzio at all.

Everyone she loved stood around her smiling, filling the small conference room at Rosato & Associates, and Mary smiled back, trying to find her emotional footing now that she was no longer on the terra firma of associatehood. Bennie Rosato, the superlawyer who was her former boss, had just become her alleged equal, and if that wasn’t confusing enough, her friends Judy Carrier, Anne Murphy, and Marshall Trow also worked at the firm. Mary didn’t know how she’d morph her friends into her employees, or if she could double their salary.

Her boyfriend, Anthony Rotunno, was standing to the right, the proverbial tall, dark, and academic, with thick wavy hair, a gorgeous smile, and eyes the dark brown of a double shot. He was a history professor who had just moved in with her, and they were still working out the closet situation and those little hairs he left in the bathroom sink. He had his arms around her parents, Mariano “Matty” and Vita DiNunzio, who had grown shorter and rounder, resting on either side of him like meatballs on a plate of spaghetti.

Mary’s father was bald and chubby in his white short-sleeved shirt and Bermuda-shorts-with-black-socks-and-sandals combination, dressed-down as usual, since the DiNunzios reserved fancy clothes for weddings or funerals. Her mother was in her best flowery housedress, with her white hair freshly teased into a cumulus cloud meant to hide her growing bald spot. Still her eyes retained their warm brown hue, doubtless the color of fertile Abruzzese soil, and the gray rimming her irises didn’t obscure the love in her gaze. Beside them stood The Three Tonys—her father’s friends “Pigeon” Tony Lucia, Tony “From-Down-The-Block” LoMonaco, and Tony “Two Feet” Pensiera—a trifecta of octogenarians who served as traveling uncles for Mary, occasionally helping on cases and generally clinging to her like cigar smoke.

“DiNunzio?” Bennie frowned, her eyes a concerned blue. She was six feet tall, of Amazonian strength and proportions, and had only gotten fitter since she was rowing again. Her unruly blonde hair was up in its topknot, and she had on her trademark khaki suit, so retro it had become hipster. “You don’t look happy.”

“I am, no, really, very happy.” Mary was still afraid of Bennie, but she expected that would change, in twenty years. “It’s just so overwhelming. I mean, thanks, all of you.”

“Awww,” Judy, Anne, and Marshall said, smiling in unison. The phone started ringing at the reception desk, and Marshall scooted out to pick it up.

“We love you, Mary!” Anthony winked at her.

Maria, ti amo.” Her mother’s eyes misted behind her thick glasses, and her father sniffled, wrinkling his largish nose. It was the DiNunzio nose, which guaranteed its wearer more oxygen than anybody in the room.

“MARE, YOU DESERVE IT!” her father hollered, speaking in capital letters by habit, though his hearing aid sat behind his ear, more an earplug than a help. “WE’RE SO PROUD A YOU!”

The Tonys nodded, being good-natured in general, especially when the cannolis were free.

Bennie raised a styrofoam cup of champagne. “Then let’s toast to DiNunzio. I mean, Mary. And we have to change our letterhead. Here’s to Rosato & DiNunzio.”

“Wait, call me DiNunzio,” Mary blurted out. “I’m used to it, and let’s hold off on the letterhead, for now. I’m not ready yet. Let it sink in.”

“Mare, that’s silly.” Judy looked at her like she was nuts. She had superintelligent blue eyes in a round face, framed by yellow-blonde hair cut short and raggedy, so she looked like the beaming sun in a crayoned picture.

“Mary, really?” Anne frowned in a meaningful way. She was a model-pretty redhead in a dress that fit like Spanx. “Don’t give away your power. Remember your affirmations.”

Mary tried not to laugh. She didn’t have any power to give away, and she always skipped her morning affirmations, since I DESERVE ALL MY SUCCESS AND HAPPINESS made her late for the bus. “Let’s stick with DiNunzio and the old letterhead for now, okay?”

“Congratulations, DiNunzio!” Bennie grinned, and everybody raised their cups and took a sip, then hugged and kissed her, each one in turn, an aromatic blend of flowery perfume, CVS aftershave, and mothballs.

Marshall returned, leaning in the doorway, her face flushed with excitement. “Bennie, the desk just called from downstairs. Allegra Gardner is on the way up, and she’s looking for representation.”

“A Gardner, from the Gardner family?” Bennie’s face lit up, and nobody had to tell Mary the party was over. She was a partner now and knew that money trumped fun. The firm could use new business, and the Gardners were a wealthy family, like the Kennedys with a Philadelphia accent.

“Which one’s Allegra?” Mary asked, setting down her cup.

“I don’t know, she didn’t say, but she’s a real Gardner.” Marshall nodded, excited. “She just interviewed Morgan Lewis, but isn’t hiring them. She wants to see us about a new matter.”

“Great!” Bennie turned to Mary. “DiNunzio, we’d love to get business from that family. Do you mind if we cut your party short?”

“No, I agree,” Mary said, making her first partner-y decision. She wanted to start on the right foot, and agreeing was always good. Even partners sucked up, this being America.

“Good.” Bennie turned back to Marshall. “Set up the big conference room. Make sure there’s laptops, fresh pads, and pencils.”

Anne blinked her lovely green eyes. “I know the Gardners are super-rich, but how did they make their money?”

“It’s so old they forget,” Mary answered. “It’s just there, like oxygen. Or carbohydrates.”

Judy lifted an eyebrow. “Balzac said behind every fortune is a great crime.”

Bennie scoffed. “Balzac didn’t have a payroll to meet, and let’s not prejudge our clients. The Gardner family interests are run by three brothers, and they own banks, reinsurance concerns, and real estate development companies.” She turned to Mary’s parents, Anthony, and The Tonys. “Folks, please excuse us. I know you’re having dinner with Mary tonight, and you’re welcome to stay here until the meeting’s over. It won’t take more than an hour.”

“Alla good, Benedetta. We know you gotta work, we wait.” Mary’s mother waddled over and gave Bennie a big hug, except that Bennie was six feet tall and Vita DiNunzio was a foot shorter, so her face landed between Bennie’s breasts. When Bennie released her, she looked vaguely asphyxiated. “Benedetta, take cookies, cannol’, sflogiatelle.”

“SHE’S RIGHT, BENNIE, TAKE THE COOKIES AND PASTRY TO THE MEETING. WE’LL SIT AND HAVE ANOTHER CUPPA COFFEE.” Her father gestured at Pigeon Tony, who was already pouring another round of black. Tony-From-Down-The-Block was settling down with the sports page, and Feet was tugging over a chair to put up his feet, which, oddly, had nothing to do with his nickname.

“Thanks.” Bennie turned to Judy and Anne. “Ladies, we need as many people on our side of the table as she has on hers. Everybody to the big conference room for a dog-and-pony show.”

Judy set down her cake. “I’ll be the dog.”

Anne set down her Diet Coke. “I’ll be the pony.”

“I’ll be the partner.” Mary brought up the rear, because she had to hug and kiss everybody good-bye, as was customary in South Philly, where hugs and kisses were like passports, required for all comings and goings. She hurried to the big conference room, which had one wall completely of glass, with an impressive view of the metallic ziggurat of One Liberty Place, the sharp spike of the Mellon Center, and the quaint figure of William Penn in his Quaker hat, atop City Hall. They all got busy setting up laptops, pads, and coffee, then Mary, Judy, and Anne arranged themselves on one side of the table with Bennie at the head, because it went without saying that she would run the meeting. She wasn’t the only partner anymore, but she was still the Office Mom.

Which, as it turned out, was exactly what Allegra Gardner needed, because Allegra Gardner was only thirteen years old.


Copyright © 2013 by Smart Blonde, LLC.

Meet the Author

LISA SCOTTOLINE is the New York Times bestselling and Edgar-Award winning author of twenty-one novels.  She has served as the President of Mystery Writers of America and her recent novel, Look Again, has been optioned for a feature film.  She is a weekly columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and her columns have been collected in two books and optioned for television. She has 25 million copies of her books in print in the United States, and she has been published in thirty countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets.

Brief Biography

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Birth:
July 1, 1955
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1976; J.D., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1981

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Accused (Rosato and Associates Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
quaintinns More than 1 year ago
Very well done! I have read a number of Lisa&rsquo;s books and Accused was outstanding (Rosato & Associates #12)! It was nice to hear from Judy, Mary, and the gang (her parents are a riot)! Mary (now partner), is hired by a 13 yr old brilliant and wealthy girl (Allegra) to investigate her sister (Fiona)&rsquo;s murder. Even though another guy (Lonnie) is in prison &ndash;she feels he is innocent. A good mystery (tried voting for this book as 2013 Mystery of the Year; however, it does not come up). Mary is now engaged to Anthony with mothers on both sides forcing their own bridal gown, as she is in the middle of reopening and investigating a murder investigation. Mary wants to help Allegra and has to fight off her father and many others along the way as she is determined to find the truth. Mary begins to uncover facts which prove Lonnie&rsquo;s innocence and the family lawyer is involved with some other secrets (which I will not disclose &ndash; An engaging mystery, with humor, and lots of laughs. The audio was excellent by January Lavoy &ndash; highly recommend &ndash; one of Scottoline&rsquo;s best books!
tigerlille More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love the Rosato and Associates series, and I am so glad that Lisa has written another book for the series at last.  Accused features Mary Dinunzio, which is good news for me, because Mary's parents are my favorite characters of all.  This is a splendid tale, no disappointments whatsoever, beautifully done.  I was appalled to see the 3 1/2 star rating, so unjust, and in place long before the book was ever released.  I totally enjoyed the book and can't wait for the next one, in which Mary and Angie's relationship will hopefully be resolved and healed.
my-lo More than 1 year ago
I am so happy that Lisa Scottoline brought back Roasato and Associates as I have read almost all her books. This was a good, entertaining read for anyone who enjoys lighter mysteries. it is like being with old friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lisa Scottoline takes familiar characters and makes them new again. I recommend it for a cozy afternoon read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This sort of story is almost guaranteed to please some and to upset some readers. After all, the justice system is supposed to be &quot;perfect.&quot; Guess again, children. My greatest fear, having served on three juries over the years [one as Foreman], is a trial by a &quot;jury of my peers.&quot; Common people, peers, generally have disregarded the law and their instructions to get to the decision they have preconceived.. A worthwhile read, if only for the lesson it teaches about miscarriage of justice. Dutch_Frogg.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
Mary Dinuzio is a great character.   She starts off getting engaged and being unsure if &ldquo;Yes&rdquo; is the answer she should give, but yet she knows that is the answer that is expected.  Next Mary gets a new client, a teenage girl whose sister has been murdered six years ago, and never bats an eye at taking the case.   When pushed to drop the case she stands up for herself and stays on the case.   I loved how she went way beyond a normal lawyer and works hard to solve the case.  As I kept reading, I was fairly sure that I knew who the killers were.  Boy,  was I surprised at who the killers actually were.  Lisa Scottoline kept me on my toes and guessing the whole book.    The character of Allegra has me worried many times during the story.   Was she just dwelling on the murder of her sister or did she truly know that Lonnie was innocent?   She seemed to be almost too smart.  She had this plan from an even younger age to find Fiona&rsquo;s real killer and almost seemed obsessed with it.   Then when I was introduced to her parents, my first thought was wow, what loser parents.  They seemed to not pay her much attention, easier to send her away to boarding school and let the hired help raise her.  As I read I got a new outlook on her parents and maybe I was quick to judge.  This is my first book that I have read in the Rosato &amp; Associates Firm.  I can tell you that I will be going back and reading the other books in this series.   I felt that even though I did not know the characters history, I could easily relate and connect with each character.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
terribly written book, very immature writing. I felt a 12 year old had written it. Sorry I wasted my time. Early books were better. Much much better writers of crime novels out there - Grimes, Grafton, Sandford
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was mostly filler, with very little plotline. Obviously needed some inane dialogue to fill 350 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good to see Rosato and Assoc. back. Great story,Scottoline at her best.
gettysburg79 More than 1 year ago
This is a fabulous book. Great plot, great characters and excellent writing kept me on the edge of my seat. I read some other reviews and was dismayed to read some of them. It is clear this book is about a law firm and lawyers, so who did you expect to find in the book. Don't criticize a book for being what it was advertised as being! If you pick it up you won't be sorry! I loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again, Lisa Scottoline hit the mark with her latest book. I thought I knew who the killer was and ultimately I was wrong and completely surprised. I really enjoy this series and always look forward to the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the warm family and friends from Philly in this book. I feel like I'm part of a great warm family,great work situation and firm,never mind a terrific thriller.Spent a Sunday in bed reading it and loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The law firm of Rosato &amp; Associates take on the challenge of trying to reopen a murder case and free the convicted killer who accepted a plea deal at the time of his trial. Surprisingly, the request comes from the 13-year-old sister of the murder victim. That set of circumstances provides the most interesting aspect of the case, and the remainder of the book unravels a not-very-complicated plot. The family and friends surrounding Mary DiNunzio are salt-of-the-earth characters who, while heartwarming and funny, are not fully developed. Overall, this is a fun read with a warm, fuzzy, satisfying ending, but in the grand scheme of things, it's more Twinkie than Tiramisu.
Storytellermary More than 1 year ago
Mary DiNunzio is a strong, loyal attorney, one I'd want in my corner if need be, and along with her comes an army of loyal friends and family ready to back her up. This was a perfect book to take me out of the real world and show me that problems can be solved, working together, staying strong. Even the octogenarian Tonys contributed invaluable service, a reminder to never give up! I love that her fiancé is Anthony, another Tony ;-) . . . and that they are carefully negotiating wedding arrangements, partnership changes at work, and even parking spaces, with love. Life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the early books but i had not read her for awhile. Mary's family including the sister angie was so boring and immature. I actually started skipping thru pages at a time i was so bored. The capitalization of everything mary's father said was driving me crazy. I hated the characters. I used to like them. I was very dissppointed. This could have been written by an eighth grader. Horrible.
AynGee476 More than 1 year ago
I always gravitate to Lisa's books for their riveting and imaginative plots, which always hold my interest to the end. Her characters are creative, engaging, and the story line is not predictable. This makes it much more fun to try and foresee the outcome.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A man is sent to prison for a murdur he did not commit. Mary Dinunzio is hired by the young sister of the murder victim, saying they had the wrong man in prison. Mary, feeling sorry for the child, takes on the case. Excelllent story. This one was hard ro put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Italian families , crime , justice ,who could ask for more! Great read,couldn't put it down !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Serious series slide into cartoon captions instead of text. Sad to say read one ot two before but cant remember any characters and happy to forget these
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first book by Lisa Scottoline and I was a bit disappointed based on some of these reviews. I found the book dragged on and had little or no drama. It was basically very predictable. I did however find her family quite entertaining but I was looking for a mystery and just didn't find it.
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