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A Deadly Paradise Paperback – May 1, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Brophy's police comissario protagonist, Alessandro Cenni, is an interesting personality, very much in keeping with the cynical but idealistic cops that star in Donna Leon, Michael Dibdin and Andrea Camillieri's Italian crime novels. Cenni has an alter ego--a twin brother, who is a Catholic Bishop seemingly destined for big things in the Vatican.
But what is most creative about "A Deadly Paradise" is the unfolding story of the principal murder victim of the piece, Jarvinia Baudler, a German woman with such a bizarre history of evil doing that the wonder is that she lived to the age of 77 before she was beaten to death by someone who had finally had enough.
A rich cast of other offbeat characters--a dotty and nasty Venetian Contessa, a larger than life village gossip, a cat-loving diehard Italian Communist, to name but a few--also populate this story to its benefit. Author Brophy attempts to dazzle the reader with this array of wild players and uncountable numbers of red herrings as well to hold our interest with an unusually credible plot. She succeeds across the board, in my opinion.
My only qualm with this well-done book is the slightly irrelevant and therefore less credible pursuit of a lost love by protagonist Cenni. It all may well be explained in the next book in the series, but in "A Deadly Paradise," it seemed a bit tacked on, without a purpose to the book's main story line.
Reading about Cenni's investigations is a little like walking through a portrait gallery in a dark and cavernous Venetian palazzo, where characters step out of paintings with all their eccentricities and malice. Harboring long held hatreds, they connive with murderous intent. The settings are evocative, the politics intriguing. The murder takes place in a quiet Umbrian village, conjuring up the brutal murders of a mother and child in the same place fifty years earlier. It is a village where everyone knows each other's business but no one wants to dredge up the past.
When the latest murder victim, a selfish and egotistical expert on Renaissance art, discovers that vast sums of counterfeit money missing since the war were used to buy art after the fighting ended, she blackmails everyone involved, who would all like to see her dead. But they're not the only ones--friends she betrayed thirst for revenge; her secretary hates her; her landlord is trying to evict her and the neighbors want her out.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Grace Brophy's second Commissario Alessandro Cenni novel is and isn't as good as the first. I gave her first book 4-stars (I save the 5-stars for the exceptionally good books). Read morePublished on June 7, 2014 by Noonski
This was a good read, interesting. I would have Livermore focus on the setting, but it was fine. Like the characters.Published on May 19, 2014 by SS
Grace Brophy has written a densely crafted description of the people and customs of aristocrats and their entourage. Read morePublished on September 10, 2011 by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed Grace Brophy's A Deadly Passion and found it to be a good murder mystery. The story was captivating and left me continually trying to pull the pieces together and narrow... Read morePublished on July 31, 2009 by CFT
Really disappointed in this book - meandering plot that changes direction constantly and is essentially way too much plot - unnecessary hyped up details that sex up the plot with... Read morePublished on April 18, 2009 by foreign mystery reader
In Paradiso, Italy, Inspector Alessandro Cenni investigates the murder of Jarvinia Baudler. However, the dedicated detective finds the case irritatingly difficult and complicated... Read morePublished on May 6, 2008 by Harriet Klausner