From the bestselling author of Italian Ways and Italian Neighbours comes a darkly comic new novel of murder in Veronese high society
Morris Duckworth has a dark past. Having married and murdered his way into a wealthy Italian family he has now become a respected member of Veronese business life. But it’s not enough. He comes up with a plan to put on the most exciting art exhibition of the decade, based on a subject close to his heart: killing. But as Morris meets stiff resistance from the director the museum, everything starts to unravel around him. His children are rebelling, his mistress is asking for more than he wants to give, his wife is increasingly attached to her ageing confessor, and worst of all it’s getting harder and harder to ignore the ghosts that swirl around him, and the skeletons rattling in every cupboard…
Parks's cerebral third Morris Duckworth mystery (after 2001's Mimi's Ghost) finds the middle-aged Englishman every bit as depraved as his younger self. Having systematically dispensed with members of the rich Italian family he married into, Morris is a respected (if not suspected) member of Verona society. To further ensure his good name, he has conceived a blockbuster art exhibit Painting Death: The Art of Assassination from Caravaggio to Damien Hirst whose theme is dear to his heart. Morris relishes the bloody details of each famous masterpiece, since they remind him of his own sociopathic artistry. Faced with a meddlesome museum director while juggling his rebellious children, enigmatic wife, and sexy Libyan mistress, he holds secret consultations with his advisory board: the ghosts of his seven earlier victims. When Morris decides that certain Veronese citizens deserve to die, the local cardinal and the mayor, who are aware of his homicidal predilections, have different ideas. Admirers of Parks's mainstream fiction should enjoy this black comedy, but mystery fans may find it too wordy and the pace too slow.