16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Another crime thriller with a difference,
This review is from: The Lost Daughter (Paperback)
Following on from the success of 'The Villa' Triste - which was shortlisted for the CWA gold Dagger Award in 2011 - Lucretia Grindle has brought back her 'odd couple' of detectives, Allessandro Pallioti and Enzo Saenz. The pony-tailed, jeans, trainers and leather jacket wearing Saenz is the perfect foil to the older, wiser and increasingly disenchanted suit wearing Pallioti. This time it is the disappearance of a 17 year-old American girl that brings them to the crime scene. Kristen's father has friends in high places which is why Pallioti, one of Italy's most senior policeman is brought in. Kristen has been known to disappear before and at first they don't take it too seriously, until it is discovered that she was seen getting into the car of Antonio Tomaselli, a member of the Red Brigades who had been imprisoned for his part in the kidnapping and murder of Aldo Moro in 1978. Shortly afterwards Kristen's step-mother, Anna, also disappears and surprising results are thrown up when Pallioti delves into Anna's background. The race to save Kristen's life takes us through time and place. Gradually more is learnt about the background of Anna and Antonio from their childhood to the infamous murder. We travel from Florence to Ferrara and Rome all beautifully and evocatively described, in fact it is the creation of a sense of place that make her novels stand out from others in the crime genre. As the pieces fall into place it builds up to a powerful finale, believable and with hindsight, inevitable.
Grindle has a way of merging fact and fiction that has the effect of making you believe the fiction could really have happened. The characters are well drawn and believable, the detectives have their flaws but do not come with an excessive amount of 'baggage'. Reading 'The Villa Triste' made me aware of how little I really knew and understood about that period of Italy's history, even though the events in 'The Lost Daughter' are far more recent this novel had the same effect. I remember the kidapping and murder happening but the true nature of the Red Brigades passed me by. 'The Lost Daughter' is a crime thriller but it is also a story of doomed love, a powerful and moving novel that educates as it entertains. Comparisons have been made with Michael Dibdin and I won't argue with that.