by Grace Brophy
Rita Minelli grew up in Brooklyn, the only child of a narcissistic Italian mother and the GI she married at the end of World War II. After her mother’s death, Rita quits her teaching job and descends upon her poor but aristocratic relatives, the Count and Countess Casati, in Assisi. It is a while before they realize, to their chagrin, that Rita has come to stay. But when the family assembles to watch the penitents’ procession in the town square during Easter Week, Rita does not join them as planned. Her corpse is later found in the family mausoleum. Alessandro Cenni, a commissario in the State Police of Umbria, must unearth the secrets of the Casati family and their circle if he is to discover who killed Rita and why. But he is blocked by their powerful right-wing connections, and by a superior who would rather arrest a scapegoat than risk political suicide. Aided by a loyal staff in his quest for justice, he still must acknowledge that no one can defeat the last enemy, death itself.