Travelling home to Trieste from a security meeting in preparation for the upcoming opening of the Slovenian border, Commissario Laurenti finds himself embroiled in a scene of murder – the enbalmer Marzio Manfredo has been killed in the train. No angel, it transpires: Manfredo was a contract killer himself preparing to wreak havoc at the ceremony. Add some influential politicians and VIPs to be kept safe throughout the official celebrations, an aggressive pitbull terrier, some right-wing propaganda, a crooked real estate investor, embezzlement, his assistant’s new lover and the ups and downs of family life and the wearied Commissario won’t be getting much sleep. But there will be plenty of good food, and once again Trieste proves an alluring setting for strong crime writing.
With a loyal readership both at home and further afield, Heinichen has found his place in this competitive genre. Trieste’s answer to Wallander and Montalbano could surely work well in the Englishspeaking countries, too. But perhaps best to go back and start with the first in the series. Laurenti is a moodily enticing figure, ripe for the picking. As Der Spiegel puts it, here is ‘a detective whose character touches the reader and whose faux pas are charming.’