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Adam's Rib: A Rocco Schiavone Mystery    by Antonio Manzini order for
Adam's Rib
by Antonio Manzini
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2016 (2016)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

If you like your mysteries cozy and quirky, then dive into Antonio Manzini's delightful Italian series starring Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone, exiled in chilly alpine Aosta. Adam's Rib is the second episode, following Black Run.

Rocco was transferred from his beloved Rome six months before for behavior unbecoming a police officer - he beat up a violent rapist protected by his father, the undersecretary for foreign affairs. Aside from Italo (whom he trusts) and Caterina (after whom he lusts) Rocco considers the local force morons, especially the accident prone D'Intino.

His morning routine includes smoking 'a nice fat joint' at his desk. He has a girlfriend of sorts, but is still emotionally committed to his late wife Marina, whose death took everything good out of his life. He ignores rules and officialdom, and remains very close to childhood friends on the other side of the law. Indeed he enlists their help this time around.

The story opens with a housekeeper's discovery of a body, that of Esther Baudos, hanging from the ceiling in her apartment. Though the discovery itself is a hilarious comedy of errors, the woman was murdered - and badly beaten first. The husband? Rocco hates murders. To solve this one, 'he'd have to delive into a filthy well of horrors, plunge down into the abyss of human idiocy, scrabble around in the squalor of some diseased mind.'

But though he doesn't enjoy the job, Rocco does it well - and the solution to this case is a most surprising one. Along the way, he learns that the rapist has done it again - and he and his friends go after the source of the problem. I do look forward to more of Rocco Schiavone, and the sooner the better!

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