BBC Picks "The Last Enemy" as Best Xmas ReadBBC Radio 4, arts program, selected "The Last Enemy" as one of the best crime novels to read or give as a gift over Christmas 2007. Here's the BBC's full list:
Rita grew up in Brooklyn, the only child of a narcissistic Italian mother and the G.I. she married at the end of World War II. At her mother’s death, Rita quits her teaching job and descends upon Assisi and her poor but aristocratic relatives, the Count and Countess Casati. It takes a while before they realize, to their distress, that Rita has come to stay.
The story begins on Good Friday, with the family assembled in the town square to watch the ritual procession of cross-carrying penitents. Only Rita, the despised American cousin, is missing. Her half-clothed body is later found in the family mausoleum, murdered, and Alessandro Cenni, a Commissario in the State Police, is assigned to the investigation.
Cenni must penetrate the secrets of the Casati family and their circle to properly investigate Rita’s death. But he is blocked by the Count’s 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 must still acknowledge that no one can defeat the last enemy, death itself.
| “The Last Enemy, Grace Brophy’s mystery in an Umbrian setting like no other, serves up more delights than the local pasticceria. The murder of Italian-American Rita Minelli during Holy Week in Assisi, with its warren of winding alleys, hidden squares and steep cobbled stairways, poses questions for Commissario Alessandro Cenni, not the least, those concerning a 17th-century manuscript, a Croatian immigrant, and a reclusive Contessa. With pressure from Rome, the Commissario’s own job is on the line. Brophy’s wry laser-like insight probes the layers of Italian aristocracy, the police system and the clergy with a sure, deft touch.” |
—Cara Black, author of the Aimée Leduc Series
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