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The Fallen Angel (2011)

af David Hewson

Serier: Nic Costa (9)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1095190,730 (3.76)14
When the sins of the past echo the crimes of the present - Detective Nic Costa faces his hardest case yet. When British academic Malise Gabriel falls to his death from a Rome apartment, detective Nic Costa rapidly comes to realise that there is much more to the accident than he had first thought.
  1. 00
    Finale i Venedig af Donna Leon (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Leon is more atmospherical, more into Italy. In Hewson one finds more action and flashiness.
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» Se også 14 omtaler

Viser 5 af 5
This ninth Nic Costa book follows closely on the heels of “City of Fear.” Nic's present adventure takes the reader deep into Rome, not only into the complex family life of the man, Gabriel, who has apparently plunged to his death from a faulty scaffold, but deep into the ancient Cenci family and the mythology that surrounds that fateful clan.
Three days into his August holiday, Nic comes upon a young English girl, Mina Gabriel, bending over her father’s dead form. The similarities to Beatrice Cenci, a tragic Roman figure, are striking. As are the parallels between the Gabriel family and the Cenci family. To begin with, the death happened on Via Beatrice Cenci, where the family has been staying. Something about the accident, about the way Mina looks at him and about the way her brother disappears after an enigmatic statement, ‘She's safe now,’ compels Nic to investigate, even thought it’s August and, as everyone reminds him, he’s on holiday.
So is almost everyone else at the Questura, the police department where Nic works. This makes investigation a little more difficult. The fact that the other police don’t at first think the death is suspicious gives Nic more problems. Why was Mr. Gabriel, an intelligent, popular, respected academic, reduced to living in this dilapidated building in the ghetto? Is the answer in the family’s tangled history or in further links to the Cenci history? Mina and her mother are obviously holding something back, but nothing will make them reveal what it is.
An ancient organization, The Brotherhood of the Owls, with links to Galileo, may hold some clues. But then, again, it may just add to the confusion.
Meanwhile, an attraction to Agata Graziano—a beautiful woman who has given up the vocation of nun—is tugging at Nic. Will the memory of his deceased wife let him pursue whatever might become of a relationship with her?
It was great fun to delve into Roman history and a modern mystery with Nic Costa.

Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of “Choke”, for Suspense Magazine ( )
  suspensemag | Oct 12, 2011 |
The 10th in the Nic Costa detective series set in Rome. All of the Costa mysteries are littered with references to the architecture, history and landscape of Rome, and maps would be helpful, but the stories are so interesting that this is a minor criticism. Here, Costa and his team are at odds with each other over what to do about a man who falls to his death and a family who won't cooperate. Especially as the mystery nears its end, it is obvious that each layer they discover is a coverup for another, and the end is a doozy. Delicious! ( )
1 stem auntmarge64 | Aug 9, 2011 |
What a find ! How have I missed this series, now in its 10th book ! A gem, by the way. Tells the story of 1599 Beatrice Cenci, in parallel with today's events. Interesting characters, convoluted plot. Good sense of Rome, feels like its written by an Italian who lives there. Did Dad fall, jump, or was pushed? Was he committing incest? Will read much more from this series. Completed 7/22, rated 5.0 ( )
  maneekuhi | Jul 28, 2011 |
Every time I read a book by David Hewson I wonder how it is that THE DAVINCI CODE was a best seller. I wonder how the blockbuster movie on which it was based was so successful. Neither has a plot, an interesting character, or anything that suggests it is something other than a cartoon.

On the other hand -

David Hewson has created three of the most interesting and diverse characters to ever grace a page. Nic Costa, just thirty at the beginning of THE FALLEN ANGEL, Gianni Peroni, his partner, and Leo Falcone, Gianni’s classmate in the police academy, are close friends, men without personal lives, who depend on their relationships to each other to keep them grounded while policing a world-class twenty-first century city that is also firmly planted in the ancient world and the world of the Renaissance. Despite their differences in age and rank, they are a unit.

THE FALLEN ANGEL begins with a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s THE MARBLE FAUN. “She knows that her sorrow is so strange and so immense, that she ought to be solitary forever….It is infinitely heart-breaking to meet her glance, and to feel that nothing can be done to help or comfort her….She is a fallen angel -fallen, and yet sinless; and it is only this depth of sorrow, with its weight and darkness, that keeps her down upon earth, and brings her within out view even while it sets her beyond our reach.” Hawthorne is writing about the sixteenth century Beatrice Cenci, a young woman, who across more than four hundred years, reaches out to the women of every generation who came after her. Hawthorne may as well be writing about Mina Gabriel.

Beatrice Cenci was beheaded by order of the Vatican in 1599 for killing her father, the man who forced her into an incestuous relationship. That she was the victim of a terrible sin and a victim of a terrible crime did not help her. Through the years, Beatrice has become a legend, an icon for women who understand that Beatrice’s suffering was her motive and her guilt a vindication. Her portrait, attributed to Guido Reni, inspired Shelley’s poem about the doomed young woman.

As Nic walks through Rome on a sultry August night, he hears screams and discovers the body of a man, cradled by his daughter. Malise Gabriel is a failed academic whose appointment to an academic institute is his last chance. The police on the scene can see easily that the death is an accident. The apartment in which the Gabriels are living is being renovated. Malise has stepped onto the balcony for a cigarette but the scaffolding has given way and Malise is killed instantly. Mina, a seventeen year-old, is overcome with grief and Nic tries to help her. The police see nothing to be investigated but Nic isn’t comfortable; he feels something is wrong, contrived about the scene. Nic is on vacation and has no business being involved at all but it is August, the police are short-handed, and the heat in Rome has made everyone short-tempered so with Peroni’s help and Falcone’s decision to look the other way, Nic begins to learn what he can about Mina and her family.

Nic quickly discovers that Mina is obsessed with Beatrice Cenci and she does what she can to play up her resemblance to the woman in the portrait Family is the theme that connects the Cencis and the Gabriels across four hundred years. And the different varieties and definitions of family inform the characters of Nic, Gianni, and Leo. “He thought of Peroni and his love of everything to do with that word. Of Falcone and how the very mention of such a secret, insular closeness could place a dark cloud in the eyes of one of the most decent men he knew.” And there is Nic’s solid, loving relationship with his own father that has survived the older man’s death.

Investigating Gabriel’s death leads the police to look into the academic circles that comprised Malise’s professional world. In a book, they find a picture of a young woman whose face is partially concealed. She is in a compromising position. On the back of the picture are scrawled the words, “E pur si muove” – “and yet it moves.” This leads them to Galileo and the ancient argument between church and science for it is these words that Galileo spoke as he left the courtroom after recanting his belief that the earth revolved around the sun. Who in this story is insisting on one thing while believing something else?

Mina takes Nic on a tour of all the places important to Beatrice. At the Palazzo Barberini, Mina shows Nic the Reni portrait of Beatrice Cenci. Then she guides him to Caravaggio’s Judith and Holofernes. It is not lost on him that Mina relates to two beautiful young women who had to do something terrible for the sake of the greater good. “E pur si mouve” is also translated “In this I still believe.”

Mina, at seventeen, thinks Nic is naive, an incurable optimist, despite what he has seen in his job. Mina has no delusions. Nic is a seeker of truth, no matter how difficult the path and painful the results. Mina is living a role, suggesting she shares the life of Beatrice, but is Mina playing another role? If so, what one?

David Hewson incorporates strong, likable characters ( I didn’t forget pathologist Teresa Lupo), complex mysteries that do not end necessarily where they lead, resolutions that mirror the real world, and hefty doses of art, literature, music, history, and Rome. Every page is a page turner and many pages require the reader to turn back and read some lines again, accepting the complexity of a story that never forgets that it is entertainment.

THE FALLEN ANGEL is so compelling that I couldn’t go on to another book until I had left Nic, Gianni, Leo, and Mina behind. ( )
  macabr | Jun 28, 2011 |
When the Da Vinci code was so popular a friend of mine told me that her husband read the Nic Costa stories by Hewson and liked them much better than he had liked the Da Vinci Code. So I picked one up and thought he was absolutely right. Not only are they more centered and less frantically paced but the characters are more developed and the storylines are wonderful, filled with a lot of historical details about Rome and its churches and art. The Fallen Angel did not disappoint. ( )
  Beamis12 | May 18, 2011 |
Viser 5 af 5
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When the sins of the past echo the crimes of the present - Detective Nic Costa faces his hardest case yet. When British academic Malise Gabriel falls to his death from a Rome apartment, detective Nic Costa rapidly comes to realise that there is much more to the accident than he had first thought.

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