SUB ROSA by Ralph McInerny
AN EGIDIO MANFREDI MYSTERY
Five Star, 2001
Rosa Subiaco is a world-famous romance/glitz author with the nasty habit of kidnapping lovers and then disposing of them--sometimes permanently. When Rosa sees a woman dropping off a man, she acts impulsively to pick him up, only to learn that 'Grandpa' has Alzheimer's disease and is too old and incapable for romance. Rosa decides to get her revenge on Edna, the woman who abandoned 'Grandpa' and to see what happens from there.
By the time homicide detective Egidio Manfredi is called in, the case has spiraled from a missing person to kidnapping and murder. Lucy, the old man's loving granddaughter, is buffeted by one loss after another. Yet Manfredi knows that the killer won't hesitate to kill again if she feels threatened.
Author Ralph McInerny (see our other reviews of books by McInerny) has created a clever tale of disfunction, misplaced revenge, and an author to whom reality is a somewhat distant concept. SUB ROSA is a quick and enjoyable read--sort of a guilty pleasure. The novel does have its flaws--putting a winning lottery ticket in the old man's pocket makes the whole story less believable without adding much to the story. Also, I was surprised by the loose ends left at the end of the short novel. Does Alex get the girl? Where is Nick? McInerny's quirky characters make up for these lacks.
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