Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for After the Storm by Isabella Muir, the second in her Giuseppe Bianchi mystery series. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author for my digital review copy.
About the Book
When a violent storm blasts England’s south coast, it’s up to retired Italian detective Giuseppe Bianchi to sift through the devastation and piece together the tragic events left behind in the storm’s wake.
Giuseppe Bianchi’s brief visit to Bexhill-on-Sea has become an extended stay. He is loath to return to his home in Rome because of the haunting images that made him leave in the first place. During his morning walks along the seafront with beagle, Max, he meets Edward Swain, who becomes Giuseppe’s walking companion. They form a friendship of sorts and find they have a similar outlook on life.
But the devastating events of a single night lead Giuseppe to question the truth about Edward Swain. Teaming up with young journalist, Christina Rossi – his cousin’s daughter – Giuseppe learns about the brutal reality lurking behind the day-to-day life of families in the local community. And as the story unravels Giuseppe is reminded how anger and revenge can lead to the most dreadful of crimes.
Format: ebook (214 pages) Publisher:
Publication date: 24th December 2020 Genre: Crime, Mystery
Find After the Storm (A Giuseppe Bianchi Mystery, 2) on Goodreads
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After the Storm is the sequel to Crossing the Line but I can reassure readers like myself who are new to the series that, although there are brief references to events in the first book, After the Storm can be enjoyed without having read its predecessor. In fact, the hints about secrets in the pasts of both Giuseppe and his cousin Mario, suggest there is still plenty to discover for readers both old and new.
A tragic event that occurs during the night of the storm arouses Giuseppe’s detective instincts and prompts him to embark on an investigation into the circumstances of something that most believe to have been an accident, even an act of God. However, it also reignites feelings of guilt about a previous case he was unable to solve.
Alongside Giuseppe’s investigation, the reader is immersed in the dynamics of the Rossi family: Mario and Anne, hardworking owners of the Bella Cafe; their daughter, Christina, a reporter on the local paper; their grandson, Stevie, who proves to be an important eyewitness; and their other daughter, Flavia, whose rare visits have a habit of causing disruption to the household.
The author includes just enough detail about world and national events, such as the first anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the forthcoming 1964 General Election, to give a sense of the period in which the book is set. The book’s Bexhill-on-Sea location is nicely evoked with its mix of faded grandeur, pockets of post-war deprivation and traditional seaside activities. Even Giuseppe comes to appreciate ice cream in a cone in place of his beloved gelato, although he stubbornly clings to his routine for making the perfect espresso.
The book’s title is used both literally, as in the havoc wrought by the violent storm so vividly depicted in the opening chapter, and metaphorically, in the sense of what can come to light in the aftermath of such a turbulent event. Plenty of things, as it turns out.
After the Storm is described as having the intrigue of a traditional English mystery combined with a continental twist and I would say that is a very fair description. The closing chapter of After the Storm hints at even more of that continental flavour in future books.
In three words: Entertaining, well-crafted, mystery
Try something similar: The Temptation by Vera Morris
About the Author
Isabella is never happier than when she is immersing herself in the sights, sounds and experiences of the 1960s. Researching all aspects of family life back then formed the perfect launch pad for her works of fiction. Isabella rediscovered her love of writing fiction during two happy years working on and completing her MA in Professional Writing and since then she has gone on to publish six novels, three novellas and two short story collections.
Her latest novel, After the Storm, is the second novel in a new series of Sussex Crimes, featuring retired Italian detective, Giuseppe Bianchi who is escaping from tragedy in Rome, only to arrive in the quiet seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex, to come face-to-face with it once more.
Her first Sussex Crime Mystery series features young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke. Set in the late 1960s, in the fictional seaside town of Tamarisk Bay, we meet Janie, who looks after the mobile library. She is an avid lover of Agatha Christie stories – in particular Hercule Poirot. Janie uses all she has learned from the Queen of Crime to help solve crimes and mysteries. As well as three novels, there are three novellas in the series, which explore some of the back story to the Tamarisk Bay characters.
Isabella’s standalone novel, The Forgotten Children, deals with the emotive subject of the child migrants who were sent to Australia – again focusing on family life in the 1960s, when the child migrant policy was still in force.