Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
For the first time in the Guido Guerrieri series, the Italian Defence Counsel acts as a detective rather than legal eagle, trying where the police have failed to discover what happened to a missing student.
Was she kidnapped, is she dead, or has she merely disappeared? Where most fictional detectives find their path blocked by half the characters they meet, Guerrieri finds his apparently clear, with help offered both by the police and by the missing girl’s friends – but unfortunately, that path appears to lead nowhere.
Or does it?
One of these helpful characters presumably knows more than they have told. Might that be one of the cops, one of her friends, a drug-dealing ex-boyfriend – and how should the unattached Guerrieri respond to the potentially romantic approaches from, on the one hand, an ex-client and, on the other, a glamorous witness half his age?
Carofiglio, as ever, produces an elegant, informative, if at times too discursive tale, like a leisurely Italian dinner that unwinds gently through the evening to leave a pleasing aftertaste on the palate.