Marshall Browne






Random House Australia, Dec 2006
Reviewed by Kerrie Smith

It is twenty years since the Mafia had Inspector Anders blown up in his car in Rome, and eighteen months since Anders has been in Italy. The killing of two right wing Italian politicians one month apart has resulted in Anders' Europol chief sending the one-legged investigator back to Milan where he will be in most danger. A calling card with each of the bodies leaves no doubt that the killings have both been carried out by the same person. There are no witnesses, and no useful forensic data at the crime scenes.

Within hours of his arrival in Milan Inspector Anders' cover is blown. Shortly after, a third right wing politician is murdered. Anders is under pressure from the Italian government to stop these killings. Terrorism is his speciality and the government is convinced these are terrorist acts. Anders is not so sure. Other factors complicate his investigation: he is unwell with some sort of virus; he is wearing a new leg (Mark IV); has some personal pressures to get a book published; leaks by parliamentarians let the public know things he wants kept quiet; and the investigation seems to be alternately going down side alleys and then back-tracking.

INSPECTOR ANDERS AND THE BLOOD VENDETTA moves at a cracking pace as Anders and those he is working with in the Milano Questura follow lead after lead in their search for the killer(s). Huge manpower and resources are thrown at this investigation, and more than anything the government does not want the Mafia to carry out its long-standing threat of killing Anders on Italian soil. They come close at least twice.

This is not the Italy we see as tourists, but the world of political confusion, of a "nation thick with crime and mayhem". Browne uses some wonderful imagery as he describes a country "being ripped apart at the seams" by the killing of right wing politicians.

Inspector Anders is a very interesting character. One of his friends describes him as "a lonely, damaged man with a mind full of dark corners". His stubbornness, taciturnity, willingness to put himself in danger for the sake of the investigation, the domination of what he is physically able to do by "the leg", are all things that make him more alive to us.

Marshall Browne is an Australian author living in Melbourne. There are five titles in the Inspector Anders series. INSPECTOR ANDERS AND THE BLOOD VENDETTA is the most recent.

January 2007 review, originally published on Murder and Mayhem


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