Marshal Guamacci of Florence (Death in Autumn, etc.) leaves the city for a village in the nearby pottery district--to...

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THE MARSHAL AND THE MURDERER

Marshal Guamacci of Florence (Death in Autumn, etc.) leaves the city for a village in the nearby pottery district--to investigate the disappearance of Swiss artisan Monies Heer, a frequent visitor (for work and study) to the studio of old pottery-painter Signor Berti. . .and to Moretti's terracotta factory just down the road. So, when Monica's body is found in a hill of broken pottery behind the factory, both Berti (a notorious lecher) and Moretti are prime suspects. Was Monica, a comely young lesbian, killed because of her misleadingly flirtatious way with men? Or could the murder be connected to the knots of local family secrets that go back to WW II? Moretti, you see, though officially the heir of a partisan war-hero, is really the son of the SS man who raped his feebleminded mother; his legacy includes two retarded half-siblings, both of whom live in fear of institutionalization. And the other household in the neighborhood--a grand mansion--belongs to rich factory-owner and gambling impresario Robiglio, whose family collaborated with the Germans. Nabb introduces this background material clumsily--in a two-chapter monologue by the village's doctor-historian. The truth, when it emerges, is disappointingly obvious, hardly more than a gothicky clichÉ. But, if less well crafted than similar recent Italy-mysteries by Timothy Williams and Timothy Holme, this small-scale case will attract a distinct readership with its flavorsome atmosphere (you can taste the village-restaurant food) and the gently appealing, Maigret-ish portrait of the Marshal.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1987

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Scribners

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987