The Art of Killing Well by Marco Malvaldi and Howard Curtis (translator)

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The Art of Killing Well by Marco Malvaldi and Howard Curtis (translator)

Category: Crime (Historical)
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A short novel but one which earns its keep. It's witty and well plotted. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: June 2014
Publisher: MacLehose Press
ISBN: 978-0857052940

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Pellegrino Artusi has travelled the length and breadth of Italy researching his masterpiece The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well and the chance to visit the home - or rather the castle - of the seventh Barone di Roccapendente was a double bonus. He'd have the opportunity to discover the secrets of the Barone's kitchen and the chance of a few days rest and possibly a boar hunt in the Tuscan hills. What could be better? Well, his stay would have been improved had a body not been discovered in the locked cellar of the castle. The cast of aristocratic suspects baffles the local police inspector and Artusi realises that he will have to become involved.

I was going to read the latest Andrea Camilleri and I only picked this book up because I was inquisitive. I'm a long-time fan of the Italian crime genre, but the name of Marco Malvaldi was new to me - in fact I was more aware of Pellegrino Artusi, the nineteenth century businessman and writer, who self-published The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well when he was in his seventies. Malvaldi has done an excellent job of bringing Artusi to life, albeit in a situation which he would possibly not have recognised.

So, what kept me reading when I was promised to one of my favourite authors? Well, the writing is witty - gloriously so. On several occasions I reread pages just for the pleasure of the words and the smile I felt creeping across my face. It's a tribute not only to the author but to the translation by Howard Curtis too - he manages to keep a sense of mischief in the story without ever losing sight of the fact that a murder has been committed. But it's not a light-hearted crime novel - at the centre of this book is a well-plotted mystery which kept me guessing right to the end.

It's not just Artusi who comes off the page fully clothed - you'll love the old maids, one of whom is convinced that the Barone has invited him as a possible suitor for her. Less endearing are the Barone's sons, but you'll smirk at the poet. My favourite though was the Barone's mother - who misses nothing and never has. I might not have heard of Marco Malvaldi before - but I'll certainly be on the lookout for more of his books.

And the food - it is glorious. You will drool. I promise.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

You'll find some more historical Italian crime in Judges by Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli and Giancarlo De Cataldo.

Buy The Art of Killing Well by Marco Malvaldi and Howard Curtis (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Art of Killing Well by Marco Malvaldi and Howard Curtis (translator) at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Art of Killing Well by Marco Malvaldi and Howard Curtis (translator) at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Art of Killing Well by Marco Malvaldi and Howard Curtis (translator) at Amazon.com.


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