Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vita Nuova-Magdalen Nabb

Vita Nuova
Magdalen Nabb
Soho, Jul 2009, $13.00
ISBN: 9781569475874

In Florence twenty-five year old single mom Daniela Paoletti, is murdered in her family home. The chemistry graduate student’s wealthy father, a nightclub owner, is in the hospital recovering from a stroke when his oldest daughter was shot. Her mom is worthless buried in an alcoholic haze while her sister Silvan is hysterical and incommunicado as she only caresses Daniela’s necklace.

Prosecutor Fulvio De Vita demands a fast response from the police, but also insists he will handle sensitive questions of the family. Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia leads the investigation, but feels hampered by Fulvio’s orders. However, crime reporter Nesti provides him with insight into the family including the fact that the nightclub ran a horde of Eastern Europe beauties as dancers and hookers and the mom was one of them. The Marshal begins to wonder if the Russian mafia killed the woman to warn her father to keep his mouth shut as they traffic in women from beyond the former Iron Curtain.

The Guarnaccia Italian police procedurals are constantly some of the best whodunits on the market. The latest one, VIA NUOVA is a super tale as the Marshal is hampered by the politician limiting who he can interview and what he can ask while the cop also knows how fast the prosecutor will deny to the media and public his interference if something goes wrong and take credit if something goes right; as Abu Ghraib taught us accountability is a one way street downward. Readers will appreciate this excellent investigative tale that pays personal homage to the author’s greatness; as Magdalen Nabb past away last summer.

Harriet Klausner