Every Bitter Thing
A Mario Silva Investigation by Leighton Gage
Review: Chief Inspector Mario Silva of Brazil's Federal Police is called in to supervise a politically volatile investigation when the son of a diplomat is murdered in Every Bitter Thing, the fourth mystery in this series by Leighton Gage.
The dead man is Juan Rivas, son of the Venezuelan foreign minister. Though the local police believe his older male lover is the killer, Silva suggests they not jump to any hasty conclusions. "Think about it," he says. "This murder is unusual in three ways: one, the bullet to the abdomen prior to the beating; two, the extreme violence of the beating; three, the absence of the murder weapon." In fact, Silva thinks it so unusual that he checks the national database to see if any other similar crimes had been committed. To his surprise, four within the past two months show up, all men but otherwise having nothing in common with Rivas … other than how they were killed. As he struggles to find a connection, which he believes will lead him to the killer, he must navigate the precarious minefield of politics that surround the case.
Silva does find a connection, and this leads to a creative and quite clever variation on a the typical manor house-inspired mystery, where a group of apparent strangers come together only to have one of them start killing off the others … though in this case the venue is the entire country of Brazil. The only slightly disappointing aspect to this is that most readers will recognize the motive for the murders and hence identify the killer very early, quickly eliminating the whodunit element of the story. Still, it is highly entertaining following Silva and his team as they proceed through the investigation and watching how they put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Every Bitter Thing is not as dark and grim as some of the previous books in the series, and includes a fair amount of wry humor, particularly in the dialog. For example, following the discovery of the body of a woman, whose murder follows the same pattern, the assistant medical examiner tells the investigating detective — nicknamed "Babyface" because he is so good at getting female suspects to open up and talk to him — that some of the wounds are post-mortem. "After she was dead?" Babyface asks. "You have another definition of post-mortem?" the AME replies.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Every Bitter Thing for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Soho Crime (Hardcover), January 2010
ISBN-13: 9781569476130; ISBN-10: 1569476136
A Vine in the Blood
Soho Press (Hardcover), December 2011
ISBN-13: 9781616950040; ISBN-10: 1616950048
Location(s) referenced in Every Bitter Thing: Brasilia, Brazil
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Every Bitter Thing by Leighton Gage — A Mario Silva Investigation
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: December 2010
List Price: $25.00