Commissario Soneri - Italy's Maigret - is faced with three interlocking mysteries as corruption reigns in Parma's city hall
Italy's Maigret returns in another smouldering noir from a master of the police procedural
"A master storyteller" Barry Forshaw, Independent
Parma is blanketed in snow, but this pristine, white veneer cannot mask the stench of corruption. Its officials are no longer working for its people - only for themselves - crime is out of control and resentment festers in every district.
Commissario Soneri remains at heart an idealist, so the state of Parma wounds him more than most. And now he is presented with three mysteries at once, each more impenetrable than the last.
In a river creek on the outskirts of the city, tipped off by a local, he finds a mobile phone that rings through the night but holds no data; an elderly patient with senile dementia is reported missing from a hospice; and the mayor of Parma, who was reported as taking a holiday on the ski slopes, has disappeared off the face of the earth - just when he seemed certain to be implicated in a seismic corruption scandal at city hall.
A master storyteller. - Independent.
Splendid . . . one of his most inspired investigations. - Sunday Times.
Varesi's talent for evoking place and time draws a politically and socially engaged picture of Italy's past. - C.W.A. Judges' Comments.
Varesi's plotting is sound and his pacing good. Where he raises his game from the common crime ruck, however, is in his almost painterly evocation of a wretchedly dark atmosphere and character. He could be the long-lost heir to Caravaggio. - Glasgow Herald.
Valerio Varesi has been the Parma correspondent for La Stampa and La Repubblica. River of Shadows was the first of a series of thrillers featuring Commissario Soneri, now the central figure of one of Italy's most popular television dramas. It was followed in English translation by The Dark Valley, Gold Frankincense and Dust and A Woman Much Missed.