Italy is a country that can bring up a lot of mental images to a person. There are the obvious ruins of the Roman Empire. Others may picture villages surrounded by lush fields with grapes or some other crop being grown. The other being a country steeped in tradition where families are united and stay on land for decades. Lastly there is the dark side, and that is a country that was influenced by the Mob.
It is the small picturesque beauty and quaint towns that brings ex-detective Chase Williams to the town of Tursenia to escape his office job in England. It’s a quaint little village with some interesting town’s people. One of whom seems to find himself being a village parking attendant, but you will have to read the book to find out about that. The important thing to Chase was getting a vacation and enjoying a place where he could run without distraction.
The problem with the modern age is there is this thing called a phone and if people know where you are they will call. This happens to Chase Williams and the call is from an old friend, Detective Angelo Alunni who would like some help on a potential murder. A well-known, but not as well liked man Piero Galli was found dead with a chandelier being the cause of his death. Others want to mark the death was accidental, or even suicide but Alunni questions that finding and thus brings in Chase.
Into the Killing Sphere is written by author Stefania Mattana who writes a very good mystery in what is not her first language. She makes use of the small Italian town and the way of the locals in a way someone would have grown up knowing. I tease as her Amazon author page will tell you she is from Sardinia, which is just off the coast of Italy.
What Mattana does with her book is paint a very interesting case of potential murder. The main family is run, almost ruled, by an older woman. A rich woman who’s family is almost typical of many splintered families. As often is found, where there is money there is a “messed” up family who wants their share.
The main character, Chase, also has a bit of a mystery behind him as well. He is willing to help his friend but will not step foot in a police station. He is ex-Scotland Yard and readers may wonder why. We get an idea it has something to do with his father but that is one mystery that is not solved within these pages. What makes this interesting is how it makes meetings between Alunni and Chase seem a bit clandestine, and adds a small additional flair to the store.
The reader will be introduced to many characters in this book and if you read carefully enough you may get an idea on who the murderer is before Chase. This is because the clues are explained in just enough detail that you could figure it out. The flip side, as in many good detective novels, you may find out you are wrong.
The interaction with Chase and the locals can be problematic at times as his Italian isn’t the best. It in a way reflects some of the struggles Mattana may have had when writing her first stories in English. So I like to think that may be this was a bit intentional. The key thing is as you read the book you get introduced to a well written story. One that can be a throwback to those well written detective stories by other great authors. Either way it’s a good read or something that mystery readers will enjoy. Also due to the way it is written fans of other genres should also find this a great quick read. Why quick, well it is only 73 pages from the Amazon description. However, if you are like me and after reading this book you will be happy to learn there were short stories prior to this book.