SEE NAPLES AND KILL by Gregory Dowling


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Introducing January Esposito--a half-British, half-Neapolitan unemployed translator (of sorts) whose brother Gigi (for Luigi) desperately wants to be a big-time gangster, Gigi pops round to visit, borrows about a hundred quid, then leaves--just before the goons arrive, dump Jan in the car, and high-tail it after him. What's Gigi done? Taped a private conversation, which suggests an English bloke will assassinate someone--a Royal?--who will soon visit Pompeii. Quicker than you can order pasta in Naples, the goons are dead, Gigi is hiding, and Jan is lurking around in the old country, avoiding family members and trying to identify the voices on the tape. One seems to belong to Brendan Cullop, bon vivant, daredevil extraordinary; the other? Perhaps Pas-quale. Bumbling along, Jan enlists the aid of Sarah Ryan--who by the end has chased the bad guys to a villa, and helped Jan narrow the possible hit targets. Together, they'll skedaddle to the Pompeii ruins and avert a Royal tragedy--but not before Gigi is done in by his gangster idol and the final ciao's are a bit teary. Pink Pantherish in parts, skewering Neapolitans, stuffy Brits, pomposities of every persuasion. But, all in all, a curious mix resulting in a cozy thriller--with irrespressible high spirits and nifty, non-routine plotting. January would be welcome a second time.

Pub Date: Dec. 16th, 1988
Publisher: St. Martin's