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Pallioti glanced at him and shrugged. It was nothing more than a slight lift and fall of his shoulders – and spoke volumes. Of impatience. Annoyance. And something more than a tinge of disdain for the schools who could not keep track of their students, especially when their students were wealthy and American and had parents who were making a fuss. …
It was just after nine o’clock in the morning of the first Wednesday in February, and still freezing. …
‘Seventeen years old. Well, actually, she’ll be eighteen on Friday.’ Pallioti’s nose wrinkled – at the dirty snow and the leaden sky that promised more. ‘American citizen,’ he added. ‘Arrived here in September with a group from a Sherbrooke College. Post-graduate year abroad.’
The tone in which he spoke the last four words suggested that, in his opinion at least, this particular rite of passage – common throughout the world but especially in America and England – was of dubious merit. Academically and otherwise.
That, Enzo thought, was debatable. Some minds would never broaden, no matter how many stamps their passport had. Others flowered in a local library. What could not be argued, however, was that the post-graduate year, the gap year, the junior year abroad, the self-discovery sabbatical – whatever you wanted to call it – contributed considerably to the city’s coffers. Flats were rented. Language schools bulged. Visits to the Uffizi and the Accademia tripled. And of course, the students bought things: Gelati. Beer. Shoes. Gloves. Anything with Prada written on it. And postcards. They bought lots of postcards.
the Grand Tour wasn’t dead, it had simply shifted gears. Moved with the times. or not. Basically, it still meant the same thing. I came, I saw, I shopped. Sometimes Enzo thought it should be the city’s motto. Other times, he realized it was. …
‘I’ll make a guess,’ Enzo said as they stepped into the streets. ‘She’s studying Art History?’
from: The Lost Daughter
Present and Past
It always starts rather soft. A young student vanishes. Seems she maybe hopped to Southern Italy or Sicily for a long weekend. She’s got golden credit cards and used them for an extensive shopping spree. Seems that there is boy friend … better some sort of sugar daddy. All would have been rather unspectacular if not her parents showed up in Florence to celebrate her daughters birthday – and the little princess is awol.
Pallioti and his assistant Enzo as well as the rest of their team dedicated to thrilling cases are not amused. They grope in the fog seconded by the parents, the American Embassy … And then they strike a rich vein.
Suddenly Pallioti and his team are parachuted back in the late 70s amid all the terror of this decade. Do you remember all these groups like the Brigate Rosse in Italy, the Rote Armee Fraktion in Germany … ? The past gets alive once more and Pallioti and his team face their personal and public limits.
Pallioti is in his 50s (another lonely wolf – no wife, no lover, no kids) and head of a team at Florence’ police getting assigned special cases. Complex cases. Cases like the mystery of the Lost Daughter. While Pallioti and especially his assistant Enzo Saenz (in his 30s – also a lonely wolf) are investigating, sometimes slowly, step by step, the novels not only deal with the work of the police. Basically police work seems to be only of minor importance.
Each of the novels gives us not only the story and the thoughts of Pallioti and Enzo, but also from the victims, witnesses and the evildoers. All cases have their roots in the past and this special past is presented in detail. When reading you finally get a complete overview of everything that happened – maybe also of some details which are not obvious to Pallioti.
There are only three novels. One of the cases deals with specific methods and structures of the Catholic Church in the past, which groomed a serial killer ravaging in the present. Another case goes back into WWII and the Italian resistance movement; treason of the past gets even more than 60 years later. … and there is the terror of the Brigate Rosse involving a young woman who is in love. The cases are complex and the background is always like a jungle of people, feelings, actions …
At the end … finally Pallioti resigns.