4th May 2023.
This is the fourth novel in Benjamin’s series featuring
Daniel Leicester, an English expat working as a private detective in his father-in-law’s
family-run agency in Bologna.
All of Benjamin’s novels have a
tense complex plot with a great many strands that take unpredictable twists to
keep you guessing. ‘Italian Rules’ is no exception. An American film company
arrive in Bologna to produce a remake of a cult 1980s Italian pulp thriller. The
original reel of a film set with its secret lost ending goes missing from the city’s
cinema archive. The plot revolves around Daniel Leicester’s attempts to track down
the film’s whereabouts. He quickly discovers that someone is willing to kill to
ensure that its mysterious ending never comes to light.
One of the features of Benjamin’s
novels that I particularly enjoy are the characters especially those in the
extended family who make up the detective business, though admittedly they play
a smaller role than in the previous novels. A prominent ‘new’ character is the
American leading lady who becomes a great friend both of Daniel and his
I’ve never been to Bologna but
thanks to Benjamin’s vivid descriptions of his adopted city, I feel I know it
well. Although it plays a lesser role in this novel, the steamy heat of the fast-approaching
summer is never far away.
I must confess ‘Italian Rules’ is
not my favourite Tom Benjamin book, possibly because I know very little about
the world of cinema, but I would heartily recommend it to those who love
fast-paced complex plots, fascinating characters and atmospheric description.
Reviewer: Judith Cranswick
Tom Benjamin started off as a reporter covering crime in North London. After a stint
on the nationals, he joined Scotland Yard as one of its famous spokesmen. He
went on to pursue a career in international aid before emigrating to Italy,
where he credits his language skills on the time he spent working as a bouncer
on the door of a homeless canteen. A Quiet Death in Italy was
the first in a series featuring Bologna-based gumshoe Daniel Leicester, it was
published in May 2020. The Hunting Season was published in
November 2020. Requiem in La Rosso was published in 2021.
Judith Cranswick was
born and brought up in Norwich. Apart from writing, Judith’s great passions are
travel and history. Both have influenced her two series of mystery novels. Tour
Manager, Fiona Mason takes coach parties throughout Europe, and historian Aunt
Jessica is the guest lecturer accompanying tour groups visiting more exotic
destinations aided by her nephew Harry. Her published novels also include several
award-winning standalone psychological thrillers. She wrote her first novel
(now languishing in the back of a drawer somewhere) when her two children were
toddlers, but there was little time for writing when she returned to her
teaching career. Now retired, she is able to indulge her love of writing and
has begun a life of crime! ‘Writers are told to write what they know about, but
I can assure you, I’ve never committed a murder. I’m an ex-convent school
headmistress for goodness sake!’ Her most recent book is Peril in Persia.