A Fine Italian Hand

William Murray, Author M. Evans and Company $21 (240p) ISBN 978-0-87131-797-1
Shifty Lou Anderson is proud of his nickname: he's a member of I.B.M., the International Brotherhood of Magicians. His latest adventure (after Now You See Her, Now You Don't, 1994) takes him to a magic conference in Italy where, during a whirlwind of parties, he meets Bobby Jo Dawson, a young American struggling as a model in Milan's cutthroat fashion industry. After another party, an orgy at which she was obviously drugged, Bobby Jo turns up raped and murdered near the villa of Adriano Barone, violent son of a powerful Italian financier. The local magistrate, Angela Tedeschi, seems to be stalling the investigation, and Lou smells a cover-up. Bobby Jo's father hires Lou to prod the slow-moving authorities. Aided by paparazza Francesa Pirro, Lou snoops among black marketeers and horse-race fans, resisting assorted threats and a bribe attempt. Pressing on to a surprise ending, Shifty Lou makes a convincingly caring sleuth and a perfect tour guide, getting the sights and sounds of Italy (not to mention the trattoria tastes) just right. Murray's easily elegant writing is like Lou's magic: the tricks are subtle and the results command applause. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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