Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio

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Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: A rather endearing lawyer is presented with an enticing case even though it's not, strictly speaking, his line of work. So he turns into a makeshift PI in order to try and solve the disappearance of a young, female university student.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 294 Date: September 2011
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
ISBN: 978-1904738725

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This is the fourth book in the popular Guido Guerrieri series. The front cover is eye-catching, as is the title. As early as p.9 I could see that Carofiglio has a nice line in wit and irony. Ergo - When you appear before the Court of Cassation, you feel you're in an orderly world, part of a justice system that works ... the world is not orderly and justice is not served.

Carofiglio wants his readers to know some background on his likeable and honest main character. So we go back to Guido's student days when he was supposed to be deliberating carefully on what career or profession to pursue. He says of two of his friends that they immediately applied themselves seriously to studying for the magistrate's exam. And Guido? I applied myself seriously to wasting time.

Throughout the story we get lots more musings, thoughts, regrets even from Guido. He's a man in his middle years with baggage but he's not afraid to share all this with the readers. His human flaws (and we all have them, of course) will endear him to many. I liked him immediately and liked him even more as the story progressed. I also liked Carafiglio's style which was straightforward, down-to-earth but with an attractive dose of wit and humour. I can see why his books have been translated into seventeen languages.

We learn that Guido 'fell' into law by accident. He had no great master plan. But he's good at his job. Several old cases are summarised in the book and he's obviously a smooth and effective operator in court. His worst enemy appears to be - himself. Now a little chubby, a little worse for wear, a little raggedy all round, he sees himself as almost yesterday's man. Until this intriguing case comes up. He seizes the opportunity with both hands. What seemed to sway it for Guido was the fact that he met the missing student's distraught parents. He wished he hadn't: they were a sorry sight. The mother appears to be holding it together but the father looks near to collapse. He's barely able to function. Guido's heartstrings are pulled and he's determined to read over all the case notes, perhaps someone missed something important.

Guido also has a few unusual ways of letting off steam. He gives his punch-bag merry hell. Despite his overall lack of self-belief at times, he does have some interesting thoughts and ideas on crime generally (lock the bastards up and throw away the key would probably just about cover it). When his thoughts don't allow him to sleep at night, he likes to walk the streets, the rather seamier streets.

And courtesy of Carofiglio we also get to meet some interesting secondary characters who all have an important part to play in the story. I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did, if I'm honest. I put my enjoyment down to Carofiglio's terrific style of writing. I could easily have read another hundred pages or so and was disappointed when the story ended.

If you enjoy a good crime story with believable characters and a nice line in narration, then this book should tick a lot of boxes. Thoroughly recommended.

If this book appeals then you might like to try The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi.

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Buy Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Temporary Perfections by Gianrico Carofiglio at Amazon.com.


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