“Fans of Donna Leon or Håkan Nesser will be ecstatic to find a kindred spirit in Grace Brophy.”—BookPage
“Evocative. . . . Cenni is well set up to return, and traditional mystery readers should welcome his continued investigations.”—The Baltimore Sun
“[A] rock-solid debut.”—Publishers Weekly
“Charm aplenty.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Sure to please fans of David Hewson’s Nic Costa, and all readers of Italian mysteries will want to add Umbria to their literary itineraries.”—Booklist
Rita grew up in Brooklyn, the only child of a narcissistic Italian mother and the GI she married at the end of World War II. After her mother’s death, she quits her teaching job and descends upon her poor but aristocratic relatives, the Count and Countess Casati, in Assisi. It takes a while before they realize, to their chagrin, that Rita has come to stay. When the family assembles to watch the penitentes procession in the town square during Easter Week, Rita does not join them as planned. Her corpse is later found in the family mausoleum.
Alessandro Cenni, a commissario in the State Police of Umbria, must penetrate the secrets of the Casati family and their circle if he is to discover who killed Rita and why. But he is blocked by their powerful right-wing connections, and by a superior who prefers to arrest a scapegoat rather than risk political suicide. Aided by a loyal staff in his quest for that rarity—justice—he still must acknowledge that no one can defeat the last enemy, death itself.