This is the second book in the series. I reported on the first book, Mayhem here.  I also read book six here.

I think Janes got a little overly ambitious with this story. His head-hopping was all over the place. I had to read whole pages to figure out who was who. He also jumped locations without mentioning it in any way. Again, I had to read several paragraphs to realize they were in a different place or different time.

In spite of this, I never considered putting the book down. Janes grabs the reader and won’t let go. Like the book Murder in Marias that I just reported on, this story is based in Paris, 1942. The homicide detective team is ordered to solve two murders which quickly disintegrates into a search for gold. St-Cry and Kohler are interested in the murders, but their masters only want the gold. Solving the murders without finding the gold will only get them killed.

While Kohler, being Gestapo, can only be killed by German orders from on high, St-Cry of the Surete can be killed by almost anyone and none of the powers would care. As we follow him probing his way through the dark streets after curfew, we can easily imagine trouble around every corner.

This is a good story and well worth the read, just don’t get hung up on Janes’ jumping all around. It is worth the trip. Head-hopping, by the way, is getting to read the inner thoughts of each person in a scene. He did in well in the other two books I’ve read–not as well this time.

Mike Lawrence

The Lion and the Rose

The year is 1502 in the waning days of the Republic of Venice. It is easy for us to forget that the Italy we know today did not exist until 1871, though the process of unification took decades.

It is also important for this story to know that Lorenzo Valla wrote the Discourse on the Forgery of the Alleged Donation of Constantine, finally published in 1517, the same year Martin Luther posted his 95 theses.

The existence of the document is the reason bodies are discovered in the Canal Grande. In this story, powerful men want the Discourse destroyed and all costs. A German monk who had lived many years in Venice was called back to solve the crimes and protect the Discourse. Mathias Munster, conflicted about his relationship with God, agrees to take on the dangerous job.

The story gives a nice slice of history as well as a well-told fictional story. I found the first few chapters a bit plodding as Bruni gave us a great deal of information without moving the story very much. There were a few issues with the translation choices, especially the use of “okay,” a modern Americanism. But is it a good story. You can skip through the repeated should I–shouldn’t I’s.

Mike Lawrence