A Deadly Paradise

A Deadly Paradise

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by Grace Brophy
     
 

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The second Commissario Cenni investigation

In the peaceful Umbrian village of Paradiso, the murder and mutilation of an elderly German woman is bewildering. That is, until Inspector Alessandro Cenni of the State Police discovers that this retired cultural attaché was not only a difficult tenant and a blackmailer, but a bisexual swinger who…  See more details below

Overview

The second Commissario Cenni investigation

In the peaceful Umbrian village of Paradiso, the murder and mutilation of an elderly German woman is bewildering. That is, until Inspector Alessandro Cenni of the State Police discovers that this retired cultural attaché was not only a difficult tenant and a blackmailer, but a bisexual swinger who recently had a female lover in residence. The dead woman grew up in occupied Venice, and one of her secrets from World War II might have surfaced. And the bucolic village is not that innocent: it was the site of a scandalous murder fifty years earlier.

Cenni’s boss wants a scapegoat, and the woman’s young former lover is the obvious target, but Cenni cannot bring himself to close the case without bringing the true perpetrator to justice.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In Brophy's appealing if low-key second mystery to feature Insp. Alessandro Cenni (after 2007's The Last Enemy ), the murder of Jarvinia Baudler in the Italian village of Paradiso creates a headache for German diplomat Dieter Reimann, who had been having an affair with the woman. Reimann's need to recover important papers muddies the waters for the inspector, who discovers that the victim was a bisexual drunk who used Reimann to falsify passports, lived beyond her means and was the recipient of threatening letters. As Cenni sifts through all this intriguing information about the deceased, he comes across a link to unsolved murders from 1978 and possible blackmail involving Reimann's wife. A brief shift of scene to Venice to investigate leads from Baudler's youth doesn't add much to the plot, which unfortunately builds to a resolution that will strike many readers as a letdown after the elaborate setup. (May)

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Library Journal

A politically sensitive case and a ghost from the past consume Commissario Alessandro Cenni in this sequel to The Last Enemy. A promotion is promised if Cenni promptly solves the murder and sexual mutilation of former German cultural attaché Jarvinia Baudler, who's found to be a promiscuous blackmailing bisexual once linked to a World War II Nazi counterfeiting scheme. As he pursues this investigation, which recalls some decades-old unsolved murders in the same small Umbrian town of Paradiso, Cenni is stunned to spot Chiara, the woman he loved 20 years earlier, whose kidnapping and presumed murder led him to his profession. While his obsession with Chiara turns to profound self-doubt, Cenni applies dogged police work and persuasion to the case at hand. Brophy has a fine budding series here, with winning characters and settings that include Venice and Murano as well as Umbria, and the ongoing Chiara subplot will have readers anticipating the next installment. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ1/08.]


—Michele Leber
School Library Journal

Adult/High School -A woman's bloody and disfigured body is found in her basement in Paradiso. Police Commissario Alessandro Cenni, who has grown up in Perugia, a village near this Umbrian hill town, is on the case. His investigation takes him through the narrow lanes of Paradiso and briefly through the canals of Venice. Is it a coincidence that a grisly murder of a mother and child took place in the same house 50 years earlier? And if that isn't enough, in the course of his investigation in Venice, Cenni catches a glimpse of the former love of his life, who was kidnapped 20 years earlier. Readers will be drawn into this well-crafted mystery. Brophy's well-drawn characters include a German woman with a checkered past, her cat-loving neighbor, an Italian hermaphrodite, an aged contessa, and the handsome police inspector. The author feeds readers just enough information through the twists and turns of the plot to keep them on their toes. Teens will love this delightful, action-packed whodunit with some Italian travel and culture thrown in for good measure.-Ellen Bell, Amador Valley High School, Pleasanton, CA

Kirkus Reviews
In idyllic Umbria, a murder of unspeakable brutality forces the revelation of ugly secrets. The body of an elderly German diplomat is discovered when a neighbor's cat wanders into her rented house. Jarvinia Baudler's murder is certainly a rare occurrence in the beautiful village of Paradiso, but it's not unprecedented. Decades earlier a young girl and her mother were killed with similar brutality, the bodies found by a playmate of the girl, the perpetrator never identified. Not only is Jarvinia's house the same place where the previous brutal murder occurred, but Jarvinia's landlady Anita Tangassi, with whom she was feuding at the time of her death, was the little girl who found the bodies. Nor is there any dearth of other suspects in this more recent murder. Jarvinia's prickly personality, her nationality and her open lesbianism-she had a flamboyant African lover called Queenie-earned her a long list of enemies. From the beginning, Commissario Alessandro "Alex" Cenni knows that the case is sensitive, but he's taken aback by the discovery that the victim had her private parts hacked off postmortem. Fortunately, his second in the investigation is the discreet and experienced Elena, his only competent deputy. In Cenni's second appearance (The Last Enemy, 2007), Brophy adds new texture to her crisp narrative through the perspectives of several suspects alternating with the Inspector's clear-eyed analysis.
From the Publisher
Praise for Deadly Paradise

Winner of the BookPage "Tip of the Icepick" Award

“The likes of Donna Leon, Magdalen Nabb and David Hewson are joined by Grace Brophy, author of an outstanding new series featuring handsome Commissario Alessandro Cenni of the state police.”
The Denver Post

“Brophy not only has found in Umbria a fresh setting for Italian crime fiction, but she has also created a character in Cenni, who combines the beguiling personal flaws, slumbering sex appeal, and mysterious detachment of David Hewson’s Leo Falcone and Nic Costa.”
Booklist

“Brophy has a fine budding series here, with winning characters and settings that include Venice and Murano as well as Umbria, and the ongoing Chiara subplot will have readers anticipating the next installment.”
Library Journal

Praise for Grace Brophy

“It’s not often that an author’s first book wins the coveted Tip of the Ice Pick Award.”
BookPage 

“Believable narrative twists combined with excellent characterization, rich dialogue and a finely depicted setting.”
Publishers Weekly 

“A terrific Italian historical police procedural.”
Midwest Book Review 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569476635
Publisher:
Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2008
Series:
Commissario Cenni Investigation Series , #2
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
684,169
File size:
558 KB

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Born in New Jersey to Irish parents, Grace Brophy lived and worked as a teacher and systems engineer in New York City until 2001, when she and her late husband, figurative painter Miguel Peraza, traveled to Italy with their two cats. While in Italy, she began The Last Enemy, her first work of fiction.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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