Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vita Nuova-Magdalen Nabb

Vita Nuova
Magdalen Nabb
Soho, Jun 2008, $24.00
ISBN: 1569474931

Just above Florence in her bedroom someone shoots and kills twenty-five years Daniela Paoletti. The victim is connected as the oldest daughter of an affluent Florentine nightclub owner. Marshal Guarnaccia puts aside his personal concern of life after the military to investigate the shooting homicide of the single mom PH.D candidate.

Guarnaccia quickly realizes there is no apparent motive for someone to shoot the woman six times in her tower bedroom and not target anyone else, but also concludes that Daniela’s family has issues. Her father remains in the hospital recovering from a stroke and his wife appears in a state of perpetual intoxication. However, most unsettling to Marshal is talk of female trafficking from Eastern Europe into Italy.

This is a strong Italian police procedural that plays out on two levels. First there is the homicide investigation that leads the hero to an even bigger case haunting the world; the abduction and sale of females into sexual slavery. Additionally a second subplot has Guarnaccia concerned with personal difficult decisions as he ponders if life is passing him by starting with his deep thinking about early retirement. The late Magdalen Nabb affirms why she has been consistently one of the best mystery writers of the past decade.

Harriet Klausner