Set in Italy at the end of the second world war this novella explores some of the issues encountered by De Luca, a detective who has previously worked for Mussolini’s regime. He regards himself, rather naively, simply as a policeman, which surprises others who have worked with him in the past, and are more aware of the compromised nature of his career and life.
It’s a good story with a range of insights into the kind of characters who ran Mussolini’s Italy, and the moral choices they made. De Luca is like a bulldog – determined, and unwilling to let go of the truth in this case, which brings him face to face with the wealthy and powerful. He is relishing the return to good old police work, but life isn’t that simple, and as the allies push forward up the boot of Italy, De Luca has to decide whether to stay and solve the crime, or simply to run for his life.
This is the first of a trilogy, and for fans of detective fiction, I’d say well worth a read.