Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Deadly Paradise-Grace Brophy

A Deadly Paradise
Grace Brophy
Soho, May 2008, $24.00
ISBN: 9781569474914

In Paradiso, Italy, Inspector Alessandro Cenni investigates the murder of Jarvinia Baudler. However, the dedicated detective finds the case irritatingly difficult and complicated by the victim’s lover German Dieter Reimann, a diplomat with all that interfering immunity. Dieter has interests in the victim beyond the murder of a lover or his own role as a prime suspect; the late Jarvinia has papers of his that he must regain or face some dire consequences and no dumb Italian cop is going to get in his way of retrieving them.

Cenni soon realizes that Baudler was bisexual and took advantage of Reimann’s stupidity. She used her connection to him to create fake passports and live wealthy on credit. The inspector also learns someone was sending the deceased threatening letters. However, the inquiry takes a Venice spin when cold case murders from three decades ago tie back to Baudler, the diplomat and his wife.

The latest Cenni Italian police procedural (see THE LAST ENEMY) is an engaging case with an incredible setup. Cenni is at his best as he struggles with diplomatic immunity intruding on the crime scene. Although the ending is reasonable, it feels less than equal to Cenni’s investigation into the fatal triangle. Still sub-genre fans will appreciate Grace Brophy’s entertaining whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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