Laid back as the residents of Euganean Hills environment may be, nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to blow-in, and investigative journalist, Riccardo Ranieri who has tense, nervous and put-upon down pat.
Starting out reading MURDER ON THE 18TH GREEN, there is the distinct possibility that Ranieri is going to annoy some readers. He’s an odd sort of combination of ego and vulnerability, sincerity and glibness that makes him very hard to pick in the beginning. It doesn’t hurt that for a man who, on moving to this country location, has availed himself of the companionship of two beautiful German Shepherds who he obviously loves. It doesn’t help that his attitude towards their care and feeding seems somewhat haphazard, even allowing for the difficult circumstances Ranieri finds himself in, what with being the man who discovers a friends body, getting shot, finding himself investigating the death, and his own shooting, annoying his neighbours, the police, and half the golf club members along the way. None of which seems to bother him a bit, until it starts to bother him a lot. Needless to say he’s a wonderfully frustrating character and endlessly fascinating. Which is just as well as he’s also just about the entire focus of this novel, although there are some standout cameos from his police bodyguard and others.
There’s such a strong sense of culture and attitude about this novel, that is sweetened all the more by a dry and understated sense of humour. Readers that get that a large percentage of Ranieri’s ego is tempered beautifully with his own ability to poke fun at himself will find him engaging. The plot for the novel is also nicely played out, although to be honest, the ultimate killer might not be that hard to pick, but the machinations along the way are well worth following. This is a lot more about why than necessarily who or how.
Often funny, very engaging, MURDER ON THE 18TH GREEN is well worth a look, although, it might make you think twice about a sauna after a round of golf.