Kathy Davie's Reviews > The Fallen Angel

The Fallen Angel by David Hewson
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4222001
's review
Jun 01, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: history, mystery
Read in May, 2011


Ninth in the Nic Costa mystery series set in contemporary Rome, Italy.

The Story
Nic is fascinated with the history of Rome as well as its art and in Fallen Angel we get a double helping with the tale of the injustice done to Beatrice Cenci by the Church in 1599. Accused of plotting the murder of her pedophiliac father with her mother and brother, the three of them are tortured into confessing and executed for not accepting the father and his friends' attentions.

The relevance is the similarity that Nic notices the night Mina's father, Malise Gabriel, falls to his death from unsteady scaffolding and the tale that unfolds. For Nic pushes that this be investigated as a murder and not the accident everyone first believes it.

The Characters
Nic Costa is a thirty-something police detective in Rome who lost his American wife to terrorists a short while ago. He loves history, how it permeates the city of Rome, and its art, most especially Caravaggio. A vegetarian, he inherited the family farm located on the old Appian Way after his father, a renowned Communist died.

His partner, Gianni Peroni, is a few years short of retirement and living with Teresa Lupo the chief pathologist. Silvio di Capua has been a part of Teresa's team for a long time starting as a hippie-ish intern and turning into her much more responsible morgue assistant.

Leo Falcone is their boss and insistent upon good bars and restaurants. He's also one of the few policemen who are more interested in truth and justice than bribes making this a team effort. He has known Agata for years as he sponsored her as a student in the orphanage.

Agata Graziana is a former sister who left the convent after the case in which Nic's wife died. She is an art expert consulted by museums. And Gianna and Leo have set her up with Nic in an attempt to entice him back to life.

My Take
I love this series. I love how Hewson integrates modern-day events with an ancient city so we get to play armchair tourist as we follow the detectives through Rome's art and architecture as they work to solve the crime. And the food! Oh, Hewson brings such an enjoyment of Italian foods as the team meets over meals to discuss the case.

In Fallen Angel, Hewson will have you twisting in frustration and anger as the contemporary story unfolds. It's a nasty story of Cain and Abel proportions with a horrid twist at the end. Expedient with a sort of justice.

The Cover
I liked the cover. The subtext is the story of Beatrice Cenci and at the top of the cover is what appears to be a marble statue of a girl lying down forming an arc over a sunset backdrop of the city of Rome with the River Tiber front and bottom with its own arches repeating the effect. The title is very apt applying to both the contemporary and the historical.
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