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The Fatal Touch: An Alec Blume Novel (Commissario Alec Blume 2) Paperback – 29 Mar 2012


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Frequently Bought Together

The Fatal Touch: An Alec Blume Novel (Commissario Alec Blume 2) + The Namesake: An Alec Blume Novel (Commissario Alec Blume 3) + The Dogs of Rome: An Alec Blume Novel (Commissario Alec Blume 1)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408821737
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408821732
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Set in Rome in the murky world of art forgery, it's beautifully written and has a deliciously laconic sense of humour' (Irish Times)

'Fitzgerald deals with such familiar material with sparkling originality. ****' (Daily Telegraph)

'I'm putting my money on Alec Blume becoming the most popular detective of the coming decade' (Belfast Telegraph)

Book Description

An novel of murder, organized crime and politics set in the heart of Rome - the second in the Alec Blume series by Conor Fitzgerald

'Fills the gap laft by Michael Dibdin' Sunday Times

The Dogs of Rome was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2011

The Dogs of Rome was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger 2011


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Elaine Simpson-long TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 17 May 2011
Format: Paperback
This is the second in a new series set in Rome and featuring Commissioner Alec Blume, an American born Italian citizen who remained in Italy after his parents died and who joined the police and has risen through the ranks. Not quite the usual maverick we come to expect in detective stories, but with a will of his own and an integrity and way of doing things that is not always popular. A body is discovered in the Piazza de Renzi early one morning - he is the local drunk and as he has not been robbed, it would appear a tragic but unsurprising accident. Needless to say it proves to be anything but and when it is discovered that the dead man is a painter and a master forger of old masters, then more investigation is needed. Blume discovers notebooks in the dead man's studio in which secrets which have been hidden for years are about to be revealed, including the fact that the forger and his business partner once cheated the Mafia by selling them a forged painting.

Twists and turns and devious characters including one Colonel Farinelli of the art fraud department of the Questore who is more involved than he cares to admit, and is very keen indeed to track down and destroy the notebooks.

A lot of detailed description of how a forger works, the tricks he uses to recreate the aged paper and the pigments of the paint and all fascinating, as are the extracts from the hidden notebooks. Took me a while to get into The Fatal Touch but once I did I really enjoyed it. Hope this series of novels runs and runs
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. A. P. Wright TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the second outing for Commissare Alec Blume. Once again Conor Fitzgerald has managed to create a perfectly credible picture of the Roman crime scene and police showing the rivalry between the ordinary civilian cop and the military Carabiniere. I have no idea whether it is realistic or not, but that doesn't matter. It feels real and Alec Blume feels real and one cares what happens to him and in this story quite a lot of things do happen to him, few pleasant and some with long lasting consequences.

For those of you who have not read The Dogs of Rome (you should), Commissare Alec Blume is somewhat of an outsider, not because he is a maverick cop (etc. etc.), but because he is an American who was orphaned in Italy as a teenager, so his slight detachment from his peers has a solid and believable reason. After his last adventures, his conduct is being observed, not very subtly, by the powers that be.

There is a spate of muggings targeting foreign visitors that needs sorting and a potentially more interesting suspicious death of a tramp. The tramp turns out to be an alcoholic Irish restorer/forger and suddenly the Carabiniere are interested. Officially Blume is removed as leading investigator of the case, although side issues allow him still to be involved. It soon becomes obvious that senior authorities are thwarting his attempts to be part of the investigation. Why??!!

We meet familiar characters from the previous book and several intriguing new characters. Blume is a dogged and determined investigator who can be lured into bloody-mindedness which can have disastrous consequences for himself and other major characters. No one is safe and this uncertainty and sense of danger keeps the reader on their toes.

I really enjoyed this book. It works as a stand-alone novel, but, if you haven't already, read the Dogs of Rome as well. I eagerly await the next book, due out next spring, I believe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob Kitchin on 9 May 2012
Format: Paperback
The Fatal Touch has a lot going for it. It has a strong, intricate plot, with a disparate range of characters and several cleverly interwoven strands. It is clearly based on a lot of research around art forgery and the art world, and procedurally it seems realistic. The narrative is culturally sensitive and portrays a good sense of place with respect to Rome. And it is generally very well written with some lovely prose. The notebooks of Henry Treacy are particularly nicely drafted. Despite all the good stuff, I do however have two concerns. The first is that the novel is overly long. My sense is that a good ten thousand words, and probably twice that, could be cut from the script and a reader would not notice. In fact, it would increase the tension a little and make the book more of a page turner. As it is, the start is slow and it takes a while to get going and there is a lot of superfluous description and dialogue, much of it nicely written, but not needed for the story. Second, Alec Blume seemed a little characterless to me. As the leading character, I never got the sense as to what made him tick or felt there was any real depth or range to him. It's almost as if he's a blank foil for more colourful characters surrounding him. Overall though The Fatal Touch is a very competent police procedural, with loads of technical and procedural detail, and an enjoyable plot.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWERTOP 1000 REVIEWER on 19 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
"The Fatal Touch" is Conor Fitzgerald's second book in the Commissioner Alec Blume series, and a rather good mystery it is, with an intriguing focus on the world of fine art--production, reproduction and sales.

Blume is an unlikely Commissario of the Rome (as in Italy) Police, making him the fictional southern confrere of the equally fictional Guido Brunetti. His presence and position in Rome are explained in some detail by the author as the story unfolds. Overall though, his character gets somewhat shorter shrift than was the case in his debut in "Dogs of Rome", and there are other players in this story that come across as more interesting, real, scary, etc.

And the story in this case has an intriguing plot that opens with the death of an art forger who specialized in producing Renaissance and Baroque master drawings for sale to gullible, and usually greedy, collectors. As Commissario Blume delves into the forger's death, he quickly finds that it leads into a messy mix of artistic misdeed, betrayal, broken relationships and connections with some of the most unsavory government officials in the country.

One such unpleasant character is the off-the-charts unscrupulous Colonel Farinelli of the Art Theft Division of the Carabinieri, who it will turn out, had been a partner in crime with the deceased forger. Author Fitzgerald invests a great deal of time and detail to bring this character into focus, and succeeds in presenting the reader with a menacing vision of the older Orson Wells in "Touch of Evil" (my impression at least).

Another character in this story who is rather skillfully developed is Inspector Caterina Matteolii, who seems destined to become Commissario Blume's better professional half.
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