My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I love a good detective story, and if that story takes place in Italy, so much the better. I enjoy Sicilian detective, Salvo Montalbano, and have read all nineteen of Camilleri’s books. And I find the Venetian Comissario Brunetti of Donna Leon’s books ever so delightful. So when I discovered a book about a Rome detective, Alec Blume, I couldn’t wait to read it.
I found it tough going at the start. I couldn’t quite get a handle on Fitzgerald’s main character, Alec Blume. And the story about illegal dog fighting and organized crime was a little blood-thirsty for my taste. I also found the switch, mid-book, from Blume’s point of view to the psychopathic killer’s, a bit unsettling. For those reasons I have rated this book with four rather than five stars.
But all that being said, I came to like Blume very much by the time I finished the book. It was a good yarn, well told, with an interesting main character. Most detective stories set in Italy point in some way to that country’s tripartite rule, by government, church and Mafia. But Fitzgerald’s view of the Mafia is one I haven’t come across before—“Rome has always been this way. Since the Middle Ages…..Who do you think the Colonna were? The Orsini, Farnese, Borghese….?” (words Fitzgerald puts in the mouth of an elderly Mafia Don).
Oddly enough, although I know well the bloody history of the Orsinis, Farneses and Borgias, I had not connected them in my mind with today’s Mafia. I owe to Conor Fitzgerald that insight. I shall certainly read the next Comissario Blume book, The Fatal Touch. It’s about art forgery, a subject closer to my heart than the mistreatment of dumb animals.
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I currently have three novels and one short story. I hope you will add them to your reading list and let me know if you enjoy them. All are on my Goodreads page, so you can share your 'review' there if you choose
• Abigails Christmas (short story) ~ An enchanting tale of love and romance, with a magical touch of fantasy.
Abigail's Christmas is a holiday story about Abigail who goes looking for a tree on Christmas Eve, and ends up with the man of her dreams in a sleigh in the Rockies --- with a wedding in the offing! Is it real? Is she dreaming? Or is it just Christmas magic?
• The Memory of Roses ~ The enduring love story of two generations of the McQuaid family unfolds on the beautiful Greek Island of Corfu. It is a tale complete with beautiful and passionate women, handsome and fiery men, and an intriguing mystery.
• Delighting In Your Company ~ Delighting In Your Company is a paranormal romance set on an exotic Caribbean island, featuring a handsome ghost and an adventurous heroine who travels back in time to solve a mystery!
• Sonata ~ Sayuri McAllister has just arrived home to Vancouver to find some startling situations:
~ A robbery has taken place at her family home, and it is being investigated by her old flame;
~ Alyssa James who she barely knows, is about to become her new stepmother;
~ and Alyssa’s brother, Hugh James, is a charming Irishman who is intent on bedding and wedding the rich and beautiful Sayuri.
It’s a confusing and difficult time for Sayuri, especially when dangerous accidents happen to her father and herself – or are they accidents?