A Deadly Paradise
An Alessandro Cenni Mystery by Grace Brophy
Review: Commissario Alessandro Cenni and his colleague Elena investigate the brutal murder of a 70-year-old woman living an unrestrained and unbounded life in the peaceful Umbrrian village of Paradiso in A Deadly Paradise, the second mystery in this series by Grace Brophy.
The dead woman was Jarvinia Baudler, found in the basement of a home she rented from Anita Tangasse in Paradiso. A neighbor, Lorenzo Vinnicelli, found her. During the course of their investigation, Cenni and Elena come across an unsolved murder from 1978. Two bodies, that of a mother and child, were grimly mutilated and killed in the same house where Baudler's body was found. Was it just a coincidence that Lorenzo Vinnicelli was their neighbor at the time? They go on to discover that Baudler held secrets concerning the Italians and Germans dating back to 1945. These secrets included a conspiracy of the two governments to counterfeit billions of US dollars to weaken the United States currency. Baudler was in possession of a Swedish letter confirming this action. With that, and other indecorousness on her part, Baudler was able to blackmail wealthy people to keep their indiscretions from the eyes and ears of others. She even pitted a brother against sister to gain their wealth. Baudler would use her charm and beguiling ways on men as well as women to obtain any and all information she needed to carry on her blackmailing activities. The residents of Paradiso did not like her and for a very good reason. After interrogating just about every one in the village, and traveling to other cities both in Italy and Germany, Cenni and Elena are at a stand still. Everyone seemed to have an alibi for the time of the evil woman's murder. Or was someone giving another an alibi to secure his or her own?
A Deadly Paradise is one of those quiet mysteries that grows in depth and complexity as the pages are turned. There are, however, a couple of side stories that don't seem to quite fit into the overall plotline but are interesting nonetheless. As a character, Commissario Cenni is a laid back and charming investigator, but with deadly aplomb when need be. In the end he ties together the loose ends but after all the effort in getting there, it seems a bit weak. This is just a minor issue, though, in an otherwise generally superior effort.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of A Deadly Paradise.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided a copy of A Deadly Paradise for this review.
Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
The Last Enemy
Soho Crime (Trade Paperback), May 2008
ISBN-13: 9781569474969; ISBN-10: 1569474966
Location(s) referenced in A Deadly Paradise: Umbria, Italy
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A Deadly Paradise by Grace Brophy — An Alessandro Cenni Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: May 2008
List Price: $24.00