This new novel by Marco Malvaldi marks the return of the investigative quartet nicknamed the “senile squad.” At the Bar Lume, with the exception of the bartender Massimo and his assistant, the beautiful Tiziana, the youngest regular is Aldo, seventy-something owner of the Osteria Boccaccio. The principal, indeed the only activity, in which the septua- and octogenarians engage in is sitting around at the Bar Lume playing cards and analyzing, postulating, gossiping, and chronicling every event that occurs in their small Tuscan town, their talk laced with colorful Tuscan slang and figures of speech. Massimo, all intuition but tending toward inaction, is obliged to investigate a homicide. The old-timers provide a running commentary and play devil’s advocate to any and all theories concerning the perpetrators of the crime in question. Their cunning at three-card monte has taught them how to see past to the truth that lies beneath appearances. A comedy, a beguiling mystery, and a vivacious portrait of small-town Italy all wrapped into one.
Marco Malvaldi was born and lives in Pisa, where he obtained a PhD in Chemistry from the Normale University. His previous books include the Bar Lume series, featuring Massimo the Barman and the four elderly sleuths. He is the winner of both the Isola d’Elba Award and the Castiglioncello Prize for his crime novels.