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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 69.
- Review Date: 2007-03-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Commissario Alessandro Cenni delves into the secret lives of the members of the aristocratic Casati family in Assisi, Italy, after their American niece is murdered during Holy Week in Brophy's rock-solid debut. When Brooklyn transplant Rita Minelli turns up dead in the family cemetery vault, Cenni interrogates her relatives, who were not pleased when she came to live with them and don't seem especially sorry to see her go. Cenni is positive that one of the Casatis is the murderer; his only question, considering that each appears to have had either motive or the means, is who. The deeper he probes, the more this family makes the Borgias look well adjusted. This well-paced murder mystery carries the reader along even after the identity of the culprit becomes clear. Believable narrative twists combined with excellent characterization, rich dialogue and a finely depicted setting will please lovers of old-style deductive detective fiction. (May)
Mystery of the month
It's not often that an author's first book wins the coveted Tip of the Ice Pick Award, so extra congrats are in order for Grace Brophy, whose The Last Enemy tops this month's recommendations. Set in Assisi during Holy Week, The Last Enemy chronicles the investigation into the murder of a wealthy American woman. It should be a cakewalk for experienced Commissario Alessandro Cenni, but he runs into opposition at every turn. His boss wants a scapegoat, and fast; the aristocratic Casati household will tolerate little intrusion into their daily routine for something as sordid as a murder investigation; and even the Catholic church is putting heavy pressure to bear on the case. Brophy draws from experience when depicting the Assisi area: She lives part-time in Umbria The characters are rich and involvingthe clever and commanding Cenni, a sensual and witchy Croatian florist, a priest who sacrifices his vows for a beautiful woman. Fans of Donna Leon or Hakan Nesser will be ecstatic to find a kindred spirit in Grace Brophy.