review by Maryom
When Duca Lamberti is approached to perform an unusual operation on a young woman, in return for a huge sum of money and re-instatement on the medical register, he suspects there's something even more underhand going on in the background, especially when his patient is murdered. Working with the Milan police department, he stumbles on an underworld operation involving drugs and arms, but even that doesn't explain the series of deaths plaguing the city, the answer to which lies further in the past.
Duca Lamberti first appeared in A Private Venus as a struck-off doctor who finds his general inquisitiveness coupled with high moral standards leads him into attempting to clean up Milan's underworld. This time he's working in closer collaboration with the police, but it's still that moral high-ground of his that proves to be the leading force. There are times when he's so disgusted with what he uncovers, that he'd like to go away and pretend it doesn't exist - but finds himself incapable of that. The story was written in the 1960s, in a seemingly more innocent time - it's difficult to imagine anyone today feeling the shock and horror that Lamberti does. Throughout, in Lamberti's mind, the degenerate world of smugglers and pimps is contrasted with the clean, sparkling atmosphere of Milan in early Spring; as in A Private Venus highlighting the difference between appearances and reality.
The plot moves along smartly, with plenty of twists and turns, although the neat tidying up at the end seems like more of an accident than anything else.
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Hersilia PressGenre - crime, adult fiction,
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