The Salati Case by Tobias Jones
|The Salati Case by Tobias Jones|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A page turner set in north eastern Italy featuring a private investigator. Good plot and excellent characters - and it's definitely recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 256||Date: July 2009|
|Publisher: Faber and Faber|
Castgnetti – generally known as Casta – is something of a loner. His parents died when he was young and he prefers the company of his bees to most humans. They believe in order, hard work and only kill when they have to. Casta earns his money as a private investigator and he wonders what he's let himself in for when he accepts a job from a notary. A local woman has died and before her estate can be settled it's necessary for the status of her younger son to be clarified. Fourteen years ago he went missing as he waited for a train to Rimini and since then he's officially been 'missing'. The notary would like that changed to 'presumed dead'.
There could have been an easy and a quick way to achieve what the notary wanted but Casta has an obstinate streak in his nature and he'd like to see the matter settled once and for all – as with a body, alive or dead. Fourteen years is a long time, though, particularly when Ricky Salati wasn't known as the steady type before he went missing. Throw in a mourning notice in the local paper which has apparently come from the missing man and the plot gets very murky.
It's north eastern Italy and it's getting on in the year. There's fog, it's cold and Casta has a week to get a report back to the notary. In that time we're going to see a family's secrets unravel and drag in other families and Silvia Salati – whose death began all this – is not going to be the only person requiring the attentions of the undertaker. Casta is going to wonder quite why he got into all this as he tangles with organised crime (like religion, it's better organised) and gets in the way of the police.
There's a real sense of place – you can feel the chill of the region settling in your bones - and with a writing style that's very easy to read it's the sort of book you'll devour in one sitting. The plot is clever and believable but if I've one criticism it's that Casta gets in the way of, annoys and generally messes the police about more than I could really credit. Forget that point and you have a real treat.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this area of north-eastern Italy appeals to you then we can recommend Dead Lagoon by Michael Dibdin and any of the Commissario Guido Brunetti books by Donna Leon. At the other end (and temperature) of the country we can recommend August Heat by Andrea Camilleri.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Salati Case by Tobias Jones at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Salati Case by Tobias Jones at Amazon.com.
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