Gambrelli And The Prosecutor

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Gambrelli and the Prosecutor is a wonderful, absorbing debut novel from newcomer Laurence Giliotti. Set in the 1930s, this well-crafted police procedural is fast-paced and exciting while exuding a strong—almost nostalgic—love for the sandwich years between the two world wars.

The mystery starts when the eminent chief inspector of the Metropolitan Police is called to the island of Q, where a young and beautiful shopkeeper was murdered at her cottage retreat. The main suspect is the woman’s older lover, senior city prosecutor Jean Michel Bertrand. While the provincial police are content with superficial physical evidence of Bertrand’s involvement, Gambrelli isn’t convinced. A trail of subtle and seemingly unconnected clues persuade the detective to hunt for the real guilty party.

In his quest for the truth, Arthur Gambrelli questions all of the usual suspects. Was the murder plotted by a vengeful ex-lover and notorious opium smuggler? Was it Bertrand’s angry wife? Or perhaps he should be searching for another suspect with an entirely different motive?

While the main mystery is solved two-thirds of the way through, the true mastermind is only unveiled near the end. Gambrelli takes his time to figure out the final problem while navigating what feels like real life situations. He follows his maze-like thoughts while dealing with office politics and reminisces of past cases. While some readers might think this third act of the novel is a waste of their time, each brief encounter provides sharp characterization for Gambrelli and his milieu. The novel is so well-plotted that it’s actually one of these “quiet” moments that leads to a solution to the case.

It’s nice to note that unlike many modern-day detectives, Gambrelli has a fairly uncomplicated family life. He has a doting wife, (unseen) children, and a faithful dog: for a man who spends many nights chasing murderers, this may seem idyllic and even unreal. Yet it’s refreshing to come across such a character in modern crime fiction. A constant reader can grow fairly tired of the same old brooding detective with a shattered psyche.

The newspaper clippings between sections add a nice touch of authenticity, although some readers might question the inclusion of such obvious red herrings.

If you’re a huge Georges Simenon fan, or merely a casual mystery reader with a hankering for a twist of European flavor in your police procedurals, you must read this little-known gem. Gambrelli and the Prosecutor is a solid first novel in what deserves to be a best-selling series.

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Star Count 4.5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 326 pages
Publisher Chateau Noir Publishing
Publish Date 16-Mar-2015
ISBN 9780990926603 Buy this Book
Issue May 2015
Category Mystery, Crime, Thriller


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