A Dead Man in Naples (Sandor Seymour Series #6)

Overview

Lionel Scampion, British consul in Naples, has been stabbed to death while bicycling through the piazza of the Porta Carmine. According to his sister, he had no enemies. The Neapolitan police suggest he was murdered by a bicycle-racing rival. In Naples, every mystery is attributed to the Camorra, a powerful criminal society; could its members be involved? Scampion enthusiastically backed the Italian invasion of Libya and befriended army officers of the newly formed Italian Bicycle Brigade. Now the Foreign Office ...

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A Dead Man in Naples (Sandor Seymour Series #6)

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Overview

Lionel Scampion, British consul in Naples, has been stabbed to death while bicycling through the piazza of the Porta Carmine. According to his sister, he had no enemies. The Neapolitan police suggest he was murdered by a bicycle-racing rival. In Naples, every mystery is attributed to the Camorra, a powerful criminal society; could its members be involved? Scampion enthusiastically backed the Italian invasion of Libya and befriended army officers of the newly formed Italian Bicycle Brigade. Now the Foreign Office in London has heard that international politics emanating from Rome might have been involved. Seymour of the Special Branch is sent to find out the motive for the murder and, incidentally, to identify the culprit.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for the Dead Man series:

“Sheer fun.”—The Times (London)

“An unfailingly amusing historical series.”—Booklist

“The steady pace, atmospheric design, and detailed description re-create a complicated city. A recommended historical series.”—Library Journal

“Picking up a new book by Michael Pearce reminds you why people enjoy reading mysteries.”—The Denver Post

“Pearce again demonstrates his skill at making the past come alive and at seamlessly weaving actual political intrigues into his plot.”—Publishers Weekly

“The whodunit is clever and well written, as is the case in all of Michael Pearce’s tales . . . the sense of time and place is outstanding.”—Mystery Gazette

Publishers Weekly
Pearce’s sixth mystery to feature Scotland Yard’s Sandor Seymour (after 2008’s A Dead Man in Barcelona) deftly mixes humor with a whodunit plot. A couple of years before WWI, the Foreign Office sends Seymour to Italy to unofficially investigate the stabbing death of Lionel Scampion, a British consular representative. As a diplomat, Scampion wasn’t altogether satisfactory, going so far in his enthusiasm as to volunteer to fight for Italy in its war with Libya. Seymour must consider a hypothesis raised at the inquest that Scampion’s murder had to do with a rivalry between bicycling clubs as well as the possibility that the killer acted from political or personal motives. As in the author’s better-known Mamur Zapt series (The Mark of the Pasha, etc.), Pearce does better at clever word play and investing his characters with charming foibles than establishing clues to buttress a fair-play solution. Still, this entry stands as the best to date in the Dead Man series. (Dec.)
Kirkus Reviews
War, honor and the undervaluation of women, circa 1900. When Lionel Scampion, a senior member of the British consulate assigned to Naples, is knifed in broad daylight for no apparent reason, Seymour of Scotland Yard's Special Branch (A Dead Man in Barcelona, 2008, etc.) is sent to investigate. So as not to alert the Neapolitans, he brings along Chantale, his stunning Moroccan fiancee, and explains that they've come to enjoy a pre-honeymoon vacation. Scampion, a keen cyclist, may have been killed by an overzealous racing competitor, but Seymour thinks a lottery ticket found in his shorts could lead to a different motive. The detective is also intrigued by Scampion's meetings with a married Marchesa and his interest in an Arab widow denied the pension due her because her Italian husband died fighting in the Libya campaign. Even more suspect are the Camorra, the Neapolitan Mafia and Sursum Corda, a secret society that champions certain political causes. Seymour enjoys his snail-salad lunches, his chats with a mathematician-turned-priest with a gift for picking lottery winners, his mild flirtations with the Marchesa and the views he and Chantale share of the bay at sunset. Meanwhile, plans are laid for a major cycling race pitting the army against the locals; missing bicycle parts turn up in Libya; and the widow gets her pension only after a word from the Camorra, which will demand favors in return. Glacially slow, but with well-aimed jabs at turn-of-the-century attitudes.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569476079
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/2009
  • Series: Sandor Seymour Series , #6
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,348,098
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Pearce was raised in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, trained as a Russian interpreter, and had an academic career in England. He now lives in London.

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