Teresa Battaglia is set to give Tyneside's Vera a run for her money.
Painted In Blood shows a young writer flexing her muscles trying, and succeeding, to produce a crime novel which is distinctive, unusual and makes full use of the myths and magic of its chosen landscape.
Exhilarating... Teresa Battaglia, who must deal with casual and constant sexism in her position of authority, is an unforgettable character readers will want to see a lot more of.
One of the best parts of Flowers Over the Inferno is the older, gruff superintendent Teresa Battaglia. She is out of shape, diabetic and busy fighting the early stages of Alzheimer's disease - on top of handling a complex case. We sympathise with Battaglia quite naturally, and it's nice to see a cop who isn't slim and sexy chasing after serial killers.
Creepy and evocative... but what gives this novel particular appeal is the sixty-something central character, whose abrasive manner hides a warm heart.
The talented Italian writer takes us to Friuli in the company of her uncompromising sleuth, Teresa Battaglia. Unlike so many female cops (especially on TV), Teresa is not svelte, soignée or young; she is overweight, over 60 and prone to unbuttoned cursing. And she has a secret she is hiding from colleagues: the onset of Alzheimer's. A canvas by a second world war partisan is found to have been painted with the blood from a human heart in a mystery yoking in the horrors of the Nazi era, shamanistic rituals and more contemporary murder. It's a heady mix.
PRAISE FOR FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, a criminal profile expert, is in her sixties, overweight, lonely, diabetic, full of the ailments of ageing - and delightful. It's rare that such a character enters crime fiction for the first time, and with such gripping impact.