Friday, February 9, 2024

Book Review: Murder at Leaning Tower

By Sara Steven

A secluded villa…

When Dan Armstrong is asked to provide security at a private villa on the outskirts of Pisa, he’s pretty sure it will be an easy job. Villa Gregory is remote; the gathered guests are rich – what could possibly go wrong?

A glittering gathering...

Inside the high walls of the palatial villa, Dan discovers the gathered guests are some of the most powerful tycoons in the media world, with plans for world domination. With so much at stake, Dan redoubles his efforts to keep everyone safe.

A detective under pressure?

But when one of the group is found murdered, Dan’s heart sinks – especially considering Anna’s own daughter is in the frame! When the police arrive, Dan meets formidable Inspector Adolfo Vinci, a man whose main talent seems to be for getting things wrong. It all goes from bad to worse for Dan as the man from the Leaning Tower starts leaning on him.

It's another case for Dan and Oscar to solve and this one won't be easy!
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

I think I may have said that the last book I’d read in the Armstrong and Oscar Cozy Mysteries series was the best one in the bunch, but I have to take that back. So far, Murder at the Leaning Tower is the best addition to date!

It felt like the writing style and the way that the suspects are rounded up, one by one, was more precise and melded well with the events that had taken place at Villa Gregory. Plus, I think the added stakes of having Dan’s girlfriend’s daughter as a possible suspect really added a touch more severity and seriousness to the experience. As with the other books in this series, there is a long list of suspects, and Dan goes through each and every one in order to categorize them in terms of how guilty they might be, and this also helps the reader to put it in order, too. I never truly know who the culprit is until the very end, which is truly exciting! 

The synopsis mentions Inspector Adolfo Vinci, and can I just say how he’s got to be on some “meanest character ever created” list? Whenever he shared a scene with Dan, my feathers would ruffle. I understand that every good story deserves a good antagonist, but Vinci goes above and beyond. He consistently points fingers at possible suspects who are obviously not, which puts a wrench into potentially finding who the murderer really is. It added a nice level of disruption and chaos.

I liked how there was more focus placed on the relationship Dan has with his girlfriend, as well as the lack of relationship he has with her daughter. It was nice to see more interpersonal relationships at play, particularly when Dan has to find a way to try to get her to trust him, despite her initial feelings towards him. And as always, Oscar the dog is a crowd favorite. I literally dreamt of a black Lab the other night–that’s how much Oscar has been infiltrating my thoughts. Dan and Oscar are the most unique crime-fighting team, no matter where they end up or who they are defending, and this go around, it really felt like the stakes were so much higher for everyone involved on the outskirts of Pisa. It was a definite five-star experience for me!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Apple

T. A. Williams is the author of over twenty bestselling romances for HQ and Canelo and is now turning his hand to cosy crime, set in his beloved Italy, for Boldwood. The series will introduce us to retired DCI Armstrong and his labrador Oscar and the first book, entitled Murder in Tuscany, was published in October 2022. T.A. lives in Devon with his Italian wife.

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