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Varesi, Valerio - 'The Dark Valley' (translated by Joseph Farrell)
Paperback: 288 pages (Jan. 2013) Publisher: MacLehose Press ISBN: 1906694354

Commissario Soneri reluctantly takes a holiday and decides to return to the village of his birth, on the slopes of Montelupo. He intends to search for fungi as he revisits memories of his childhood, an activity that he always enjoyed as a child with his father.

When he arrives, he finds that the whole village is obsessed with the apparent disappearance of Paride Rodolfi, the son of the owner of the local factory. The salami factory employs most of the adults in the village and therefore everyone is concerned.

As Soneri walks the mountain searching for the elusive fungi, he hears mysterious gunshots and is aware of ghostly figures disappearing in the mist. When Paride's father, Palmiro, commits suicide, the villagers start to become worried about the future of the factory. The rumours start flying concerning the financial viability of the business and Soneri realises that most of the villagers have more than their livelihoods to worry about, that they have been encouraged to invest in the business. Suddenly the whole future of the village lies in the balance.

Soneri is reluctantly drawn into the mystery of Paride's disappearance, and finds that events of World War II still impact on present day and that his memories and beliefs about his father may not be all that he thought.

I am a huge fan of the Inspector Montalbano books by Andrea Camilleri and looked forward to reading this. This does have the lightness of touch that Camilleri brings to Montalbano, the writing is quite dense so isn't such an easy read. It is based in an area of Italy that I don't know but the history and the geographical descriptions are presented very well. It is a good read and I intend reading the other novels featuring Commissario Soneri.

Read another review of THE DARK VALLEY.

Susan White, England
February 2013

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 3/02/2013 10:37