Thursday, February 16, 2017

Shadows On the Lake

Inspector Stefania Valenti is called to the mountain pass above Lake Como when the road crew constructing a new road to the Swiss border unearths human remains in the process. What ensues is a matter of political and historical intrigue involving one of the area's most well-known families and villas. The skeleton offers up clues that point to murder, but Inspector Valenti must discover the motives and what the now elderly family members may know about the circumstances surrounding the WWII era death.

I am a fan of mysteries and the fact that this one included some historical intrigue pulled me in from the start. I also enjoyed the chance to travel to Italy in my mind as I read the book. Although the villa and exact details of the town have been fictionalized, I did hop on the internet and do a little exploring of the mountains that form the border between Italy and Switzerland as a way of getting into the setting.

I found Inspector Valenti an entirely believable character along with those around her. To some extent the characters fall into the expected roles of any detective/mystery novel: the no-nonsense, "get it done" chief; the eagle-eyed inspector who doesn't miss a detail and has the uncanny ability to link details together (sometimes with the help of equally capable peers), and the underling officers who help out with some of the leg work. Add to this a blooming romantic connection, an ex-husband, and Valenti's school-aged daughter and that rounds out the main cadre of characters.

Although set in the present day, I enjoyed the connection back to World War II days: smuggling Jews across borders, worries over fascism and communism, etc. This made Valenti's quest for justice for the victim a cause I think anyone would want to see through to the conclusion.

The book was a quick, enjoyable read which I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a mystery or detective novel. If it is a new genre to you, this is a good place to start! My thanks to the publisher for the ARC I received for free in exchange for this honest review.

From the Publisher . . .

A new atmospheric Italian mystery novel set in Lake Como, introducing the clever and captivating Inspector Stefania Valenti.

During the construction of a new road to the Swiss border in the mountains above Lake Como, the remains of a young man are unearthed on the powerful Cappelletti family’s property. On the case is Stefania Valenti, forty-five, divorced with a young daughter, and a brilliant, determined police inspector.

Her investigation takes her back to World War II and deep into the history of the region, a place that during the war attracted smugglers, deserters, secret agents, and fleeing Jews. Steeped in the beautiful atmosphere of Northern Italy, Valenti’s investigation brings to light a family’s secret, a tragic romance, and reveals a fascinating piece of Italian history.

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