A Few Drops of Blood
Review: After the bodies of two nude — and quite dead — men, sitting astride a bronze, life-sized statue of a horse in the garden of a countess are found, Captain Natalia Monte has to ask the obvious questions: Why these two men positioned in this manner, and Why in this garden, in A Few Drops of Blood, the second mystery in this series by Jan Merete Weiss.
The two men are readily identified as Vincente Lattaruzzo, a museum director, and Carlo Bagnatti, a gossip columnist. They had been killed elsewhere and merely placed on the horse. But why and by whom? It hardly seemed that just one person could have accomplished this. Natalia learns that the men had recently begun a relationship, but outside of that relationship they had little in common, personally or professionally. Still, the question that puzzles Natalia most is why go to all the trouble of putting the men on display in the countess's garden. What is she missing from this picture?
A Few Drops of Blood is a carefully crafted if also quite complicated mystery, one that can be very hard to follow along as Natalia interviews the people that knew the dead men. The cast of characters is large and diverse; it's not easy keeping track of all the names, who knew whom, and what their relationship was, if any, to the dead men, especially as more is learned the further one gets in the book. Then there is Natalia's private life, which probably takes up — or at least seems to take up — about a third of the pages. It's all very interesting, but given how well developed her own character is, it's not clear its inclusion is strictly necessary, though it does intermingle with her investigation, especially towards the end. Set in contemporary Naples, this is a city of contrasts that has managed to exist, thrive even, by striking an uneasy balance between its competing elements. And while Natalia's case is officially closed at the end of the book, it really isn't: life continues as it apparently always has in Naples, where the best solution is the one that provides an opportunity for all involved to move on with their lives, even if it means all involved share in some of the pain that inevitably results.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of A Few Drops of Blood for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
These Dark Things
Soho Crime (Hardcover), May 2011
ISBN-13: 9781569479384; ISBN-10: 1569479380
Location(s) referenced in A Few Drops of Blood: Naples, Italy
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A Few Drops of Blood by Jan Merete Weiss — A Natalia Monte Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: April 2014
List Price: $26.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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