Rick Montoya, eager to experience more of his Italian mother's culture, heads to Rome to start his own translation business. He's armed with curiosity and an appetite for local food and wine.
Rick's maternal uncle is a Roman cop with one eye to his nephew's welfare and another to how Rick might be useful, perhaps widen his career choices. So Commissario Piero Fontana pulls Rick into an investigation: the murder of Count Umberto Zimbardi.
The wealthy count enjoyed indulging a circle of convivial friends and a hobby collecting oral histories by interviewing residents in the city's centro storico. After heading home from such an afternoon, he was found dead on a bridge over the Tiber.
As a newcomer and an investigator, Rick makes rookie mistakes. He's learning the ropes as an amateur sleuth and that living in Rome is different from visiting. Plus he's distracted by a woman pressing him into service as a tour guide and the arrival of a college friend on a mission to sell Argentine wine to the Vatican.
In Roman Count Down, the city emerges as another character in David Wagner's "...usual deft mix of travel and suspense" (Kirkus Reviews). Like all the Rick Montoya Mysteries, this prequel is rich in food, drink, and local culture and landmarks.
About the Author
David P. Wagner is a retired foreign service officer who spent nine years in Italy, learning to love things Italian. Other diplomatic assignments included Brazil, Ecuador, and Uruguay, as well as two hardship postings to Washington, D.C. He and his wife, Mary, live in Pueblo, Colorado.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you have visited Rome, you will enjoy accompanying Rick on many familiar Rome walks as he works to solve a mystery. He definitely captures the magic of Rome that we feel every time we visit!
After five books in the Rick Montoya Italian Mystery series, David Wagner takes the reader back to Rick’s arrival in Rome to establish his business as an interpreter. Having spent many of his school years in Rome, this move gives him an opportunity to re-connect with several of his classmates, some of whom have taken an unexpected path in life. Rick’s first job comes through his Uncle Piero, a police commissioner. The body of Count Zimbardi was found on a bridge near his home. With little to go on, the Countess has offered his journals, which may offer information on a project he was working on. The Count had studied in England and kept his journals in English so Rick is hired to read through them and report back to his uncle. Working with Sergeant Carmella Lamponi, Rick takes them to Via Anacleto, where the count had conducted interviews with the residents for a proposed book on the changes over time that have occurred on the older streets of Rome. While there is little in the journals to help, several of the count’s friends noted that he was disturbed by something he had discovered while conducting his interviews. It is up to Rick and Carmella to discover whether this is tied to his murder. During interviews with the count’s friends they also discover that he enjoyed gambling and he had also been involved in an argument with one of his friends shortly before his death. As Rick assists his uncle, updates often take place over lunch or dinner with mouth-watering descriptions of the Italian dishes that they indulge in. He also enjoys walking the streets of Rome as he re-acquaints himself with the city. From the Piazza Navona to the Vatican he gives the reader a tour that allows you to experience Rome from your own home. This book serves as the perfect introduction to Rick Montoya with some gentle humor and several good twists. It is an entertaining and an easy book to enjoy with a glass of Italian wine by your side. I would like to thank NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing this book in exchange for my honest review.
I liked this book, it was a fun and engaging book that kept me hooked till the last page. I liked the descriptions of Rome, they're realistic and pleasant, it was almost like being in the city. It was to read how Rick came to live in Rome and started his activity. The mystery was light and entertaining. I look forward to reading the next installment in this series. Recommended! Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine.