The Dead of Winter: Three Giordano Bruno Novellas

S.J. Parris. Pegasus Crime, $25.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-64313-654-7
Fans of Parris’s superior mysteries featuring cleric-turned-sleuth Giordano Bruno, seen most recently in Conspiracy, will be delighted by this stellar collection of three novellas from his early years. In “The Secret Dead,” set in 1566 Naples, 18-year-old Bruno has just taken holy orders as a Dominican. After a church official invites him to witness a forbidden autopsy of an unknown pregnant woman who was strangled, Bruno pursues the truth and some form of justice for the forgotten victim. He also tackles whodunits in “The Academy of Secrets,” set in 1568, and “A Christmas Requiem,” set in 1569 Rome; in the latter Bruno finds himself at odds with the church hierarchy, setting up the relationship with it highlighted in the novels. Bruno’s social commentary is a plus; he views Naples as “a city stinking of hypocrisy: kissing in public was illegal, but courtesans were permitted to walk the streets openly, looking for business even in the churches (especially in the churches).” This is an accessible entry point for newcomers. Agent: Deborah Schneider, ICM Partners. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 10/01/2020
Release date: 12/01/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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