I could not stop turning the pages of “Inspector Cataldo’s Criminal Summer” written by Luigi Guicciardi. It was a great mystery read for me this year. I for one was taken in by the plot and the characters and let me tell you that a cup of hot chocolate goes best with a mystery read.
The book is set in Northern Italy in the 1990s. A 20-year old death comes back to disrupt the lives of Italian professionals and intellectuals in a small Italian town. He was originally convicted of murder and wants to actualize revenge from the ones responsible for the crime. That is the plot in a nutshell. I cannot give away more since this is a mystery.
Inspector Cataldo – a quiet and unassuming man is then called on to investigate the deaths of the intellectuals. At this stage in the book, the identity of the killer is yet unknown, however that is what adds to the mystery but obviously. Who is the killer then? Is it the wrongly convicted person or someone else?
I loved how the characters were etched to perfection. Each and every character in the book has his or her place cut out. Not once while reading the book does the reader feel a miss in any of the parts. The pace of the book starts off slow however once the murders start taking place one after the other, the pace picks up.
“Criminal Summer” is a stunningly atmospheric book. Luigi Guicciardi does not lose the opportunity to describe Northern Italy for what it is and make it come alive for the readers. For instance, the scenes when the author is describing the summer heat, makes you want to grab a chill glass of lemonade. That is the magic of strong and powerful writing. The author delivers on almost all counts – plot, pace, level of mystery, style of writing and building the environment. The translation by Iain Halliday is well done.
I must at this point also accolade the efforts of the publisher, Hersilia Press who have undertaken the task to translate good Italian Crime Fiction Books to English and present us with great reading material. There are three more Cataldo mysteries in the offing and I cannot wait to lay my hands on all of them as I am certain they will prove to be satisfying reads.