Death in the Dolomites (Rick Montoya)
by David P. Wagner
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Poisoned Pen Press Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781464202704
Date: 01 September 2014 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
My only problem with David Wagner's books is that he does not write them fast enough. I absolutely love them. Wagner's lead character is Rick Montoya who is the son of a US Foreign Services Officer father and an Italian mother. Now in his thirties, Rick works as a translator and lives in Rome. Rick's uncle Piero is an Italian policeman and often recommends Rick to help solve crimes involving American tourists since he is able to communicate with the local Italians and the Americans.
This adventure takes place in Northern Italy at the ski resort town of Campiglio. An American tourist goes missing and Rick helps the police inspector to communicate with the missing man's sister, who is visiting Campiglio with her brother.
The next day, a group of young boys, sneaking off a ski trail, where they were not supposed to be, find the body because it had been dumped off the ski lift in a place where it would not be found for months under normal conditions. The victim is an American international banker who works for a bank in Milan. He was visiting Campiglio partly on vacation and partly because he was issuing a loan to a local businessman to purchase and develop a local resort property.
The investigation reveals the drama of small-town life in the Italian town. Everybody knows everybody else's business. The twists and turns of the investigation match those of the ski trails where Rick spends part of his vacation time.
The mystery is fun. It is not too heavy, but is involved enough to keep the reader's interest. There are friendships and love interests involved too. The best part is traveling through Italy with the characters though the eyes of Rick Montoya and, by extension, the author. The previous novel in the series was in Tuscany, but it is not necessary to read the previous one to follow this one. In a typical day in Campiglio, Rick, the police inspector and his friends drink great wine and eat great food. Rick is on vacation with a friend who owns a wine exporting business, so the wine talk is great. Wagner also explains some of the differences between the American and Italian cultures and how they will react and perceive various events of everyday life. It is a great visit to Italy.
My last trip to Italy was in 2011. Italy is one of the best places I have ever been. I am a happy and proud American, and I love my cheeseburgers and barbecue, but the Italian food is hard to beat. I highly recommend Death in the Dolomites and I can't wait to read the next one.