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“The Last Enemy ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 28/03/2007

The Last Enemy
Grace Brophy
Soho, May 2007, $23.00
ISBN 1569474591

Her father, an American GI, met her Italian mother while stationed in Italy during WWII. Over the objections of her parents, they married, went to the United States to live in Brooklyn, and had a daughter. Years later, the child, now a school teacher Rita Minnelli, mourns the death of her mom so decides to travel to Assisi, Italy, to meet her maternal relatives.

Count and Countess Casati do not welcome the foreigner even if she shares their blood. They become chagrined when they realize she plans to stay. Not long afterward, Rita's welcome ends when she turns up dead in the family vault while the entire town, including the Casati clan, celebrate Easter Week with the Penitente parade. State Police of Umbria Commissario Alessandro Cenni investigates the homicide even as the Casati crowd refuses to help his investigation; instead they use their political connections to prevent a deep inquiry.

This is a terrific, Italian, historical police procedural in which Cenni finds that for every step he takes there are official roadblocks and a dysfunctional family that makes his teeth hurt. The storyline is fast-paced and never slows down even after the audience knows the identity of the killer for there remains a case to prove. Grace Brophy provides an entertaining whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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