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Crime mystery set in BOLOGNA

20th May 2020

A Quiet Death in Italy by Tom Benjamin, crime mystery set in Bologna.

Crime mystery set in BOLOGNA

Bologna never seems to get a real look-in on the tourist trail around Italy. People travel through on the high speed trains to Florence, Pisa, Rome and further South and often don’t give a second glance to this rather wonderful city, brilliantly portrayed in A Quiet Death In Italy. It has Roman and Renaissance heritage, especially along the Via Zamboni, it also has underground canals (which feature in the this mystery). Stop at Ristorante Diana and the Mercato delle Erbe, feast on piadini, which is a thin Italian flatbread popular in the region of Emilia Romagna. An excellent and evocative setting for a murder mystery!

Basically, the scene is beautifully set for literary wanderlust and the story weaves its way through this ancient city. The city has a recent history of political activism, back to the period of the Red Brigades (the Central Station was bombed in 1980 killing 85 people). Now, the body of radical protestor Paolo Solitudine is found floating in one of the underground waterways of the city. The police have been a loggerheads with a group of anarchists, holed up in the old hospital of Santa Maria Maddalena. How did he die? Did the police maybe kill him?

Daniel Leicester is the son-in-law of the former, now retired, Comandante and together they are soon investigating the murky world of local italian politics and dodgy governmental dealings. Daniel discovers that Marta Finzi, wife of Bologna’s mayor, Carlo Manzi, was having an affair with the dead man. Plenty of reason, perhaps, for the man to have been killed. Their relationship however seems to have gone back over years and there even seems to be a link to days of political activism back in the 1970s.

Daniel is an investigator who has had his fair share of difficulty in life. He lost his wife Lucia in an unfortunate car accident and he is now bringing up his 13 year old daughter, with the support of her family. He is a thoughtful man and – even though he is British – speaks pretty good Italian, which holds him in good stead!

A great read for fans of Philip Gwynne Jones and Donna Leon (Venice). Between them they almost have the Northern Italy murder mystery genre covered ūüėČ and I look forward to his next book The Hunting Season.

Do read Tom’s fascinating #TalkingLocationWith… feature about Bologna!

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