November 1, 2013

Book Review: The Memory Key by Conor Fitzgerald


In 1980, Stefania Manfellotto blew up a train station full of people. Thirty years later, after serving a long prison sentence, she's shot in the head on the campus of a Roman university. The magistrate investigating the attempted murder is convinced a bystander named Sofia Fontana must have seen something, but before he can ascertain that, she is killed.

The magistrate doesn't trust the local carabineri to do a proper job, so he turns to Commissario Alec Blume--the protagonist of three previous mysteries by Conor Fitzgerald--to do a little unofficial investigating. Blume's bosses aren't happy about him getting involved in yet another off-the-grid investigation; neither is his girlfriend, Caterina. But Blume can't help himself, he's intrigued by the intertwined stories of Stefania and Sofia. He starts to probe into their lives, and quickly discovers a strange professor--a man who claims to have the key to memory, enabling anyone to remember anything--who had connections to both. As the case heats up, and more deaths occur, Blume must race to find the truth.

With The Memory Key, Fitzgerald has created another gripping mystery featuring the irresistibly stubborn Blume (following 2012's The Namesake). Blume pigheadedly continues down the path he has chosen, no matter the consequences--yet readers cannot help but root for him. Fans of Donna Leon or Andrea Camillieri are bound to enjoy The Memory Key and its vivid Roman setting.

I'd say that I'd put Fitzgerald's books smack in the middle actually -- not as good as Donna Leon, but I prefer them to Camillieri's. They do make me want to visit Rome though!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Should I recommend this to my grandma? I remember a lot of swearing. And, obviously, it's about murder... up to you.

Have YOU ever been to Rome?

I originally wrote most of this review for the oh-so-awesome Shelf Awareness. And the book image is an Amazon affiliate link, thanks for supporting Quirky Bookworm!