A short pleasant read ideal for a summer afternoon.
This is the second book in the Bar Lume series where we are once again introduced to barman Massimo Viviani, and the four elderly patrons of his bar. The small coastal town of Pineta near Pisa in Northern Italy comes alive as an international conference arrives. Massimo is the caterer and when one of the delegates a Japanese professor named Asahara is found dead in suspicious circumstances, Massimo becomes once again an amateur detective.
The plot is nice and simple; Aldo, Ampelio, Del Tacca, Rimediotti, the elderly patrons are irascible, Tiziana the barmaid is beautiful, the policeman Fusco is useless, and Massimo is constantly amusing as he solves the crime.
Remarkable, Massimo thought. A man who looked about a hundred and six and could barely keep awake was, according to the doctors , in the peak of condition. What constitutions the Japanese have. Obviously sushi, green, tea and puffer fish keep you fit even if you lead a crap life. Getting up in the morning, the subway, the work., the bowing…..
Three-Card Monte may be lightweight, but it is full of fun, and the charm of the series is in the interactions between the cast of characters in a small provincial town, where sometimes the monotony is broken by a “nice murder”.
Whoever is toughest wins.
History is full of such episodes. Think for example , of Caesar and Anthony. Think of Churchill and Stalin. Think of Zidane and Materazzi.
An example of the author’s wit and also placing this story very firmly in Italy where football is rather important. [The reference is to the World Cup Final 2006 Italy versus France]
I particularly liked this passage among the dedications at the end:
Ampelio is a fairly faithful portrait of my grandfather Varisello, who spent ninety-three years commenting on everything he didn’t like about the world ( and that included a lot).
My review of Game for Five the first book in the Bar Lume series.