From Publishers Weekly
In Brophy's appealing if low-key second mystery to feature Insp. Alessandro Cenni (after 2007's The Last Enemy), the murder of Jarvinia Baudler in the Italian village of Paradiso creates a headache for German diplomat Dieter Reimann, who had been having an affair with the woman. Reimann's need to recover important papers muddies the waters for the inspector, who discovers that the victim was a bisexual drunk who used Reimann to falsify passports, lived beyond her means and was the recipient of threatening letters. As Cenni sifts through all this intriguing information about the deceased, he comes across a link to unsolved murders from 1978 and possible blackmail involving Reimann's wife. A brief shift of scene to Venice to investigate leads from Baudler's youth doesn't add much to the plot, which unfortunately builds to a resolution that will strike many readers as a letdown after the elaborate setup. (May)
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Commissario Alessandro Cenni, on the outs with his superiors, has a chance to escape the hinterlands and return to Perugia, in the heart of his beloved Umbria, but only if he can solve the murder of retired German diplomat Jarvinia Baudler. The game plan is to arrest the young African woman who was Baudler’s lover, but Cenni quickly sees that the case is more complicated than that: Baudler was a multitasking blackmailer, putting the sting on a plethora of former lovers, neighbors with secrets, and even her employers at the German embassy. Cenni and his no-nonsense colleague, Elena Ottaviani, sort through the suspects and deal with sundry personal issues involving her marriage and his obsession with his college lover, who was kidnapped more than 20 years ago. Brophy not only has found in Umbria a fresh setting for Italian crime fiction but she has also created a character in Cenni, who combines the beguiling personal flaws, slumbering sex appeal, and mysterious detachment of David Hewson’s Leo Falcone and Nic Costa. Readers bitten by the Italian crime bug are sure to succumb to Cenni’s charms. --Bill Ott
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