A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


And Then You Die

An Aurelio Zen Mystery by Michael Dibdin

(Italian beach view by Hermann via Pixabay)
(Italian beach view by Hermann via Pixabay)
Detective Aurelio Zen is recuperating at a beach resort in Tuscany after a long stay in hospital following a bomb attack on his car.

But when a man who has cheekily taken his place on his allotted sunbed on the beach is shot dead one afternoon, Zen realises that the members of the Mafia who had tried to kill him at the end of the previous book, Blood Rain, have had another go,

The authorities want him alive and well so he can testify at an anti-Mafia trial in the US so they waste no time in shipping him out of his peaceful coastal retreat. This inconveniences Zen, who under a false name has been about to embark on a romance with a lady from Lucca he has met on the beach.

Zen is taken to a remote prison island off the coast of Tuscany to lie low for a while before he is put on the plane to America.

Once on board, Zen moves to another seat to make himself more comfortable. The male passenger who decides to move into his empty seat is later found dead.

Due to technical difficulties, later discovered to be sabotage, the plane is forced to land in Iceland. Zen's adventures continue there when he is attacked by a man with a knife in a street in Reykjavik.

The reader is then taken on a roller coaster ride with Zen that takes him back to Rome, on to Florence, back to the beach resort and then to Lucca, where he is finally able to concentrate on his blossoming relationship. But has he overcome all the obstacles to his happiness?

He is constantly puzzled by a slogan in English he keeps seeing on the front of T shirts, Life's a beach. But what has that got to do with the words on the back, And then you die? Finally when Zen is on board a boat out at sea everything falls into place for both Zen and the reader.

And Then You Die is another gripping read  from Michael Dibdin with some wonderful descriptions of locations in Italy.

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The Paper Moon

An Inspector Montalbano Mystery by Andrea Camilleri

(Sicilian street scene by Tama66 via Pixabay)
Montalbano has to spend time with not one, but two, beautiful women while carrying out a murder investigation and at times finds himself distracted from his duties.

The victim is a pharmaceutical salesman who was shot in the face at point blank range at a moment when his trousers were down.

One of the beautiful women is the dead man’s sister. She calls on Montalbano to investigate her brother’s disappearance and Montalbano finds himself fascinated with her eyes.

He accompanies her to her brother’s apartment and after they fail to find any trace of the missing man he reluctantly gives in to her request to break down the locked door of a small room on his terrace. Inside, Montalbano finds the body of the victim.

When he goes to see the dead man’s mistress, a blue eyed blonde in her thirties, he is stunned by her beauty and finds it hard to concentrate on the case.

While he carries out his investigation he is constantly preoccupied by the fear that he is becoming forgetful as he gets older. He even writes a letter to himself to remind him of the facts in the case.

He is assisted as always by the faithful, but hapless Catarella, who works round the clock to access files on the dead man’s computer for which he doesn’t have the password, confusing Montalbano by constantly referring to it as ‘the last word’.

Meanwhile, local  politicians are dying because of a batch of dirty cocaine that is in circulation and every day Montalbano’s appointment with the Commissioner has to be cancelled for some reason by Dr Lattes (with an s on the end) who telephones Catarella with the news.

Things are as complicated and hilarious as ever at police headquarters but a determined Montalbano gets to the truth in the end.

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