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BLOOD SISTERS
by Alessandro Perissinotto and Howard Curtis, trans.
Hersilia Press, February 2011
256 pages
7.99 GBP
ISBN: 0956379613


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Anna Pavesi is broke of money and miserable. She's split up from her long-term partner and to make matters worse, her work as a psychologist is drying up for lack of funding. But she still has herself and a hungry cat to feed so, against her better judgement, she agrees to help Benedetta Vitali find her half-sister. The fact that Anna once found the missing son of someone Vitali knows is all the credentials Anna needs so far as she is concerned. But as ever in Anna's life, there is a complication. The missing woman is dead and her coffin was found to be empty when it was being exhumed so she could be reburied in the family vault.

The book alternates been sections in the present tense where Anna is feverishly working, alone and at night, to uncover what she believes to be a grave in the woods near Milan, and the story, told in the more conventional past tense of how Anna ended up there, alone and fearing for her life. I can understand why Perissinotto chose this method of story-telling, but I found the tense shifts more distracting than anything, although they were undoubtedly atmospheric.

The Italian countryside is vividly portrayed as being shrouded in a dense fog, echoing the fog that surrounds much of Anna's activity in the book as she seeks to establish what happened to the dead girl. Anna is not under any illusions about her qualifications or lack thereof to undertake such an investigation, but she is persistent, refusing to be put off by the uncooperative doctor who attended the missing girl when she was taken to hospital after what appeared to be a hit and run accident.

Anna, on the rebound from a partner whose serial infidelity had finally got too much for her, seems to have few qualms about embarking on an adulterous liaison with the doctor's better-looking colleague, but even that relationship takes on sinister overtones and Anna begins to wonder whom if anyone she can really trust. There were elements of the plot I found a little too simplistic but even so, it still needed the seemingly inevitable conversation between all parties at the end to wrap matters up. It seems harsh to criticise this when so many authors follow the same, well-worn path, but tell not show does seem to be the hallmark of all too many endings. That said, Anna Pavesi certainly had her strengths and the Italian setting was enjoyable.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, April 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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