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Convoluted but stick with it
on 17 May 2011
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