A FINE ITALIAN HAND by William Murray


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 Shifty Lou Anderson, forsaking his beloved Santa Anita Racetrack for the International Brotherhood of Magicians conference in Milan, finds Italy nothing if not decorative. There's aspiring model Bobby Jo Dawson, the cynosure of every lecherous Italian eye; established model Parker Williams, the Ice Princess, who leaves a trail of frustrated men in her wake; and Francesco Pirro, the uninhibited freelance photographer who takes the first pictures of Bobby Jo's body after she's found on the shore of Lake Lugano, beaten, raped, and drowned. Bobby Jo's father Jake, a Kentucky breeder who knows Shifty just well enough to ask a favor, wants him to stay in Milan in order to ship the body home and keep the pressure on investigating magistrate Angela Tedeschi. Tedeschi is studiously avoiding any interest in Bobby Jo's violent, well-connected squire, Adriano Barone--even though Barone's industrialist father ruined her own father years and years ago. For Shifty, who last saw Bobby Jo drugged and feebly struggling with Adriano's fast friends at a wild party, it's an offer he can't refuse. What Shifty can't know is that despite his continued success at the track and the card table, and the way he wows the ladies with his sleight of hand, he's the slowest player in the game this time. More Cook's tour than mystery, with Shifty dismayingly out of his league, but Murray's eighth (Now You See Her, Now You Don't, 1994, etc.) does save a pair of handsome surprises for the end.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-87131-797-4
Page count: 240pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1996


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