Mystery – Italian Detectives

If You Like: Donna Leon

Donna Leon’s popular series featuring Venice, Italy, police Commissario Guido Brunetti appeals to readers who enjoy nuanced, elegant mysteries with a sense of justice, accurate depictions of Venetian life, fascinatingly complex characters, and tales that unravel at a deliberate pace. Those who haven’t started the series may want to begin with the 1st book, Death at La Fenice; longtime fans can enjoy the 25th entry, The Waters of Eternal Youth, which is out this month.
The Shape of Water
by Andrea Camilleri

Police Procedural. Inspector Salvo Montalbano of the Sicilian police force is assigned to investigate the high-profile, scandalous death of a local politician (he died with his pants around his knees in “the pasture,” home to the rural area’s prostitutes). Most everyone wants Montalbano to accept the ruling of death by natural causes, but of course, he can’t. Like Brunetti, Montalbano is a gourmand policeman battling governmental corruption in a complex Italian milieu and isn’t above breaking the rules in order to serve up justice. This is the 1st book in the internationally bestselling mystery series.

A Share in Death
by Deborah Crombie

Police Procedural. A Share in Death, Crombie’s debut novel, introduces readers to Scotland Yard’s Detective Superintendent Duncan Kincaid and Sergeant Gemma James. Kincaid, who is on vacation in the north of England, must set aside his leisure plans in order to solve several disparate murders that have occurred at his vacation complex. Since Kincaid and James’ professional partnership develops with each outing, it’s best to start with this 1st book in the series, which Booklist calls a “thoroughly entertaining mystery.” Just as Donna Leon does, author Deborah Crombie writes elegant mysteries with cleverly constructed plots and intricately detailed settings.

by Michael Dibdin

Police Procedural. Police Commissioner Aurelio Zen of Rome becomes involved in the months-old kidnapping of wealthy industrialist Ruggiero Miletti, a case that takes him to Perugia in the Umbria region of Italy. It also plummets him into a morass of family troubles and police politics as not everyone in Miletti’s family seems to want him rescued and the local police resent Zen’s presence. This Gold Dagger Award-winning novel, the 1st in an excellent series, is a good pick for Donna Leon fans who’d like a wider view of Italy, because not only does Zen share many similarities with Brunetti, he also travels throughout the country solving cases.

Some Bitter Taste
by Magdalen Nabb

Mystery. An elderly lady reports to Marshal Guarnaccia that an intruder has been entering her Florence flat. He agrees to help, but busy with other cases, including an Albanian prostitution ring and a burglary at an English expatriate’s villa, he checks on the signora too late — she’s dead. Guilt-ridden, the self-doubting Guarnaccia investigates her murder while still working his other cases and finds the woman’s death is linked to stolen art and World War II Jewish refugees. Readers should find Magdalen Nabb’s character-based mysteries similar to Leon’s clever, graceful ones. This is the 12th of 14 books in the Italian-set series.

List created 3/28/16 – James Hartmann

Adapted from Nextreads.

Posted in Adult Staff Picks, Reading Lists and tagged , , , , .