Will the Lunghi detective family’s long string of murder-free investigations be threatened by the corpse that appears in the middle of Cobham Court?
Once a year, the city of Bath celebrates Nation Day, and Angelo Lunghi’s neighborhood declares its independence as The Republic of Walcot. This gently crazy holiday is the perfect backdrop to the Lunghi family’s third installment of detection lite (Family Planning, 1999, etc.). Angelo calls on Veronica Wigmore, whose husband Des would be the perfect suspect for the break-in to her flat if only he weren’t doing still another stretch in Langnorton jail. Soon after Angelo’s sister Rosetta snaps photos of obnoxious young women acting badly on the street, her cell phone is snatched. Pressed by a series of unsuitable young men, Angelo and Gina’s underage daughter Marie tries her first vodka and orange, then tries several more. Marie’s kid brother David is introduced to the agonies of first love when his date to spend the day with gorgeous computer geek Lara Tonkin falls through. Oh, and there’s a dead man too—one Henry Daniels, his head crushed by a blow that looks like murder to DI Phillips, who wants to talk to Azaria Nolfi, the third ex—Mrs. Daniels, down at the station.
The Rube Goldberg plot, practically all of it transpiring in a single day, is winsome and endearing, and none of it, not even the fatality, amounts to a hill of beans.