Kent, Christobel - 'The Killing Room'
Sandro Cellini is an ex-policeman now working, not very successfully, as a private detective. His wife, Luisa, arranges for him to meet the managers of an exclusive apartment building - the Palazzo San Giorgio - aimed at wealthy foreign residents. Sandro is reluctant to take on the vacant position of security manager and is not surprised when the job is offered instead to a rival - the young, dashing, Giancarlo Vito.
A short while later Sandro is again offered the job when Giancarlo is found dead of a suspected overdose. However, he finds that the Palazzo has been plagued by strange and disturbing incidents that seem to be related to the centuries-old stories of a locked room in the basement where a young wife suffered a gruesome death.
Meanwhile Giulietta, Sandro's sometimes assistant, has demons of her own to face when her past seems to be coming back to haunt her and she starts to doubt whether she has the right to marry her sweetheart, Enzo.
The power struggles between the various police and security forces complicates Sandro's investigations which soon covers, unofficially, the murders of two people with connections to the Palazzo.
This is an interesting read, it isn't a page-turner since the story seems a little slow in places but for readers who enjoy reading about Commissario Brunetti by Donna Leon or Aurelio Zen by Michael Dibdin, they will find another Italian detective in Sandro Cellini, who is a bit of a maverick.
This is the fifth book to feature Sandro, Luisa and Giulietta, but they read as stand-alone books and I am sure that anyone new to this character will enjoy reading THE KILLING ROOM, without feeling that they have missed out. Saying that, they may well feel that they want to read the other books in the series as they are enjoyable reads.
Susan White, England