An art restorer copes with the murder of her roommate.
Working at Restauro Lorenzetti isn’t Flora Garibaldi’s idea of a dream job. Beppe, the owner, is genial enough, but his older son, Pietro, is a slave driver, and his younger son, Marco, is a letch. Flora’s work consists mainly of mixing gesso and repairing frames. Half-Italian Flora’s true loves, however, are wandering the streets of Siena and sharing pasta meals with her roommates, Ernst Mann and Linda Maguire. So she is truly bummed out when she comes home for lunch and finds Ernst dead under their balcony. Capt. Rizzo of the Carabinieri is too sleepy to mount much of an investigation, but handsome Sottotenente Vittorio Bernini shows more interest in both the murder and Flora. When Beppe encourages Flora to make a copy of a miniature Madonna, she thinks she may be edging toward real restoration work. But her assignment raises Flora’s suspicions—and Bernini’s—about the real output of the Restauro. The Sottotenente shows his growing affection for Flora by encouraging her to snoop around and see what the Lorenzettis are really up to, with an all-too-predictable effect on her well-being. Will she join Ernst as one more unsolved murder of one more foreigner?
Wisseman, author of the Lisa Donohue Israel-archaeology mysteries (The House of the Sphinx, 2009, etc.), gains little from her move to Italy. Rizzo isn’t the only one who’s just phoning it in.