cover image The Metal Green Mercedes

The Metal Green Mercedes

Timothy Williams. St. Martin's Press, $14.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-312-53090-7

Commissario Trotti of the police in a northern Italian urban center was introduced in Williams's applauded debut, The Red Citroen. In this mesmerizing novel, the gentle officer is estivating at Lake Garda when a man breakfasting at the next table is fatally shot. Although Trotti is out of his jurisdiction, he becomes active in the investigation after two gangsters kidnap and beat him and are later found murdered in his car. The commissario learns that the first victim had been using an alias while writing a newspaper report on a crime which had involved Trotti 20 years earlier. The journalist isn't the only one posing as somebody else in a maze of tortuous circumstances that keep the reader on the qui vive. Williams, a gifted storyteller, has created another stupendous mystery to which he adds accounts of Trotti's personal troubles that increase the reader's responses to the detective's humanity. December 27