The Fallen Angel
Delacorte, Apr 26 2011, $25.00
In Rome, British academic Malise Gabriel falls from scaffolding around his apartment. Police Detective Nic Costa watches the horror unfolding. At the same time Nic also observes Malise’s son fire a gun into the air and meets Mina, the other offspring of the victim.
Costa is attracted to the musical Mina though frustrated by her refusal to tell him anything related to her father’s death. He finds the other family members as silent as Mina when it comes to Malise’s demise. Being obsessive compulsive when it comes to an investigation (and food), Costa keeps digging until he finds a link back to the late sixteenth century trial and brutal death of Beatrice Cenci and her infamous abusive father Francesco.
This is a superb Italian police procedural with a strong historical anchor as David Hewson deftly connects the execution of the real Beatrice to the present day Roman holiday. Regardless of whether it is 1599 or the twenty-first century, the subplots are fast-paced yet the key players are fully developed. Costa is at his best as he revises his hypothesis as to what has happened and what might occur if he fails to remain diligent.