Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Requiem in La Rossa by Tom Benjamin. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Little, Brown for my review copy. Do check out the post by my tour buddy for today, Sandra at BookLoverWorm.
About the Book
In the sweltering heat of a Bologna summer, a murderer plans their pièce de résistance…
‘Only in Bologna’ reads the headline in the Carlino after a professor of music is apparently murdered leaving the opera. But what looks like an open-and-shut case begins to fall apart when English detective Daniel Leicester is tasked with getting the accused man off, and a trail that begins among Bologna’s close-knit classical music community leads him to suspect there may be a serial killer at large in the oldest university in the world.
Format: Paperback (352 pages) Publisher: Constable
Publication date: 5th May 2022 Genre: Crime
Find Requiem in La Rossa on Goodreads
Disclosure: If you buy a book via the above link, I may earn a commission from Bookshop.org, whose fees support independent bookshops
Requiem in La Rossa is the third book in the author’s crime series set in Bologna featuring British private detective Daniel Leicester. I’ve read both the previous books in the series – A Quiet Death in Italy and The Hunting Season – and loved each one. Although I’d obviously recommend reading the series from the beginning, Requiem in La Rossa can definitely be read as a standalone.
It was great to be reunited with characters from the previous books such as trainee investigator Dolores, Daniel’s father-in-law, Giovanni Faidate (known as the ‘Comindante’) and the other employees of Faidate Investigations. Oh, and of course, Daniel’s girlfriend, ‘the svelte and unapologetically visceral’, Stella Amore, who also happens to be his daughter Rose’s art tutor. Once again there’s some nice verbal sparring between Daniel and Commissario Rita Miranda of the Polizia di Stato. She dismissively refers to Daniel as ‘the English detective’ and mocks his approach to investigation: ‘It’s all about the clues with you, isn’t it, Sherlock?’
Daniel is a great character. He has a keen sense of justice and is not afraid to push the limits of the law when necessary. Being a qualified locksmith helps, although not when he’s in a police holding cell. He’s fiercely protective of his daughter and I loved seeing his pleasure at his daughter’s burgeoning artistic talent and how she is growing into a young woman his late wife would have been proud of. Daniel’s Italian is improving as well. In fact, at one point he’s complimented on his English by some tourists who take him for an Italian. Perhaps an experience the author has had?
One of the things that makes the series so enjoyable is the Bologna setting. You really feel as if you are walking the streets alongside Daniel and the other characters and, dear readers, there are maps! The level of detail could only have come from someone with an intimate knowledge of the city. ‘With the chime of the nine o’clock bell from San Procolo came il vento della sera, the breeze that blew east across the city each evening like a relieved sigh for having made it through another day.’
Amongst other things the labyrinthine plot involves a suicide that may be murder (or perhaps is suicide after all?), a death from natural causes that may be murder (or perhaps is from natural causes after all?), evidence of corruption amongst Bologna’s academic institutions and an outbreak of food poisoning (or is it?). Quite honestly if you managed to work out the identity of the culprit(s) and their motivation before the final chapters, well done you!
Requiem in La Rossa is another wonderful addition to the series. It’s a skilfully-crafted mystery with great characters and lots of local colour. Book that trip to Bologna now!
In three words: Atmospheric, intriguing, immersive
Try something similar: After the Storm by Isabella Muir
About the Author
Tom Benjamin grew up in the suburbs of north London and began his working life as a journalist before becoming a spokesman for Scotland Yard. He later moved into public health, where he led drugs awareness programme FRANK. He now lives in Bologna.