Adam’s Rib by Antonio Manzini

The second book of the Rocco Schiavone Mystery series by Antonio Manzini, Adam’s Rib, is just as good as the first – Black Run.

Here are the basics to the plot:

Six months after being exiled from his beloved Rome, Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone has settled into a routine in the cold, quiet, chronically backward alpine town of Aosta: an espresso at home, breakfast in the piazza, and a morning joint in his office.

A little self-medication helps Rocco deal with the morons that almost exclusively comprise the local force. Especially on a day like today. It’s his girlfriend’s birthday (if you could call her that; in his mind, Rocco’s only faithful to his late wife), he has no gift—and he’s about to stumble upon a corpse.

It begins when a maid reports a burglary in Aosta. But there’s no sign of forced entry, and after Rocco picks the lock, he notices something off about the carefully ransacked rooms. That’s when he finds the body: a woman, the maid’s employer, left hanging after a grisly suicide. Or is it? Rocco’s intuition tells him the scene has been staged. In other words, it’s murder—a pain in the ass of the highest order.

Manzini continues his excellent work from Black Run with his latest translation. Schiavone is back as the acerbic deputy police chief of Aosta. He is ably assisted by police officer Italo Pierron and Inspector Caterina Rispoli, but hindered by less-able officers such as Michele Deruta.

I think what draws me so much to Schiavone is his sharp wit and cynicism. Both of these are on display in the book.

The plot is good because Manzini brings in several threads into the story. Although two events seem unrelated, they turn out to be related in one of the characters. Although some may not like the rabbit trail that Manzini takes Schiavone on to Rome, I think it helps develop Schiavone’s character and to more fully understand his thinking.

Manzini does another great job of bringing Deputy Police Chief Schiavone to life.

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