Well, I wasn’t super impressed with the second in the Nic Costa series by David Hewson, The Villa of Mysteries. In this mystery, set again in Rome, a mother insists to the police that her 16-year old daughter has been abducted from a busy square. While the officers aren’t concerned, Nic Costa believes there’s a connection to a recently unearthed corpse currently being examined. Teresa Lupo, the head police pathologist, begins to find similarities between the two, including a mysterious tattoo. Lupo fears that the girl has been abducted to play a role in a strange ancient ritual, one involving disturbing sexual aspects and sometimes murder. Soon, a connection is found between this abduction, the ritual ceremony, and Rome’s organized crime ring. Nic and Teresa must work from both sides of the crime to save the innocent, if anyone involved actually is innocent.
I like the character Nic Costa a great deal. He is intelligent and caring, but not without his own demons. However, Costa’s role was much smaller in this novel than in Season for the Dead, the first in the series. More time was spent with his new partner, his boss, the leader of the Mob, or with the pathologist Lupo. I would have liked more time seeing the crime from Costa’s point of view, however, I think Lupo’s expanded role is because Hewson plans on making her a larger part of the rest of the series. I didn’t enjoy the large sections narrated by the Mob boss; I felt it dragged the story down, and made it more confusing. There were a lot of characters in the book, and it took a long time for any of them to progress to something new. I often felt like everything was at a standstill, which may have been intentional by Hewson, but it also made the book hard to pick up sometimes. My last complaint may seem silly, but I hated the length of the chapters. I suppose they were more like “sections” or “parts” (they were over 100 pages), but there were no good breaks within them. I felt it hurt the mystery’s flow and continuity, and the storyline got bogged down with it. Overall, the storyline was interesting, and the I enjoyed the pathological research from Teresa Lupo, but The Villa of Mysteries wasn’t as good as Season for the Dead due to it’s lack of flow and excitement. I think I will, however, continue reading this series by David Hewson.
Try The Villa of Mysteries by David Hewson if you liked the first in the Nic Costa series A Season for the Dead.