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Published by Maclehose
Press, 19 May 2016. ISBN: 978 0 85705
This story is set in Italy in the
mountainous wooded country between Italy and France. Corso Bramard was once a commissario of police, but resigned from
the force 15 years ago after a serial killer he was hunting murdered his
French-born wife Michelle and took their daughter Michelle. The killer has
never been caught but since then someone has been sending Corso mocking letters
from different parts of the world. The letters have no trace of anything that
could constitute any sort of evidence, not even fingerprints or DNA until, with
the last letter, a single hair is discovered. DNA analysis establishes that it
came from the killer’s first victim who had been mutilated but not killed
whereas all the later victims had been killed. Although no longer a policeman,
but a teacher, Corso is on sufficiently good terms with his former colleague,
Commissario Arcodipane, to ask for help which arrives in the form of the young
police graduate Isa Mancini who has considerable detecting abilities which only
just outweigh her difficult and confrontational attitude with her colleagues
and members of the public. But even when she and Corso work together, the
search for the killer seems impossible. But there is also another protagonist
in the story, the rich and multi-travelled Jean-Claude Montrecelli whom we also
follow. He is a clever and manipulative man who delights in tantalising his
pursuers and whose motives the reader begins to unravel.
I thought this book succeeded most was in the depiction of the harsh and rugged
landscape and the dour, taciturn people who inhabit it. The plot was I felt overlain
by a mass of detail not all of which seemed to be relevant. However that may be
because the author, who has been hailed as one of the most talented Italian
writers, is part of a different literary tradition to that of Britain and the
USA. Anyhow, an interesting and a challenging read.
Reviewer: Radmila May
Davide Longo is an author, editor, and
writing professor from Carmagnola. He has written articles for numerous
magazines and newspapers, and several novels that have been published around
the world, including two that have been translated into English: The Last
Man Standing and Bramard's Case.
Longo lives and teaches in Turin, not far from where he was raised.
Radmila Maywas born
in the US but has lived in the UK ever since apart from seven years in The
Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice. Instead
she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and has been working for
them off and on ever since. For the last few years she was one of three editors
working on a new edition of a practitioners' text book on Criminal Evidence by
her late husband; the book has now been published thus giving her time to
concentrate on her own writing. She also has an interest in archaeology in
which subject she has a Diploma.