Why did I read this? Because it was on sale and on the surface, it looked good. Later I found out it was an audio book set in Italy and one of my challenges is 12 audio mysteries set outside the US – (I made it harder and want 12 different countries).
This is the 12th book in the series featuring Gabriel Allon, a kind of mis-fit who has “retired” from the Israeli intelligence service. At the moment he’s been hiding out in the Vatican touching up and restoring an old Caravaggio. (Allon is also a restorer of Christian art – long story, I guess, but it’s mentioned in The Fallen Angel.)
Murder seems to have followed him in the situation of a young woman’s body being found in a garden of the Basillica. She has apparently fallen or jumped or – pushed? The Vatican says jumped (naturally). – This is what intrigued me about the book. The blurbs say similar to Demons and Angels by Dan Brown but that would not interest me – might have even turned me off had I seen it earlier.)
The body is that of Dr. Claudia Andreatti who, as it turns out, has just recently discovered a conspiracy involving precious art works and antiquities, a lot of money and the organized underworld. But Gabriel has to promise his friend Monsignor Luigi Donati, the private secretary to the Pope and the man who alerted him to the death, not to “ask too many questions.” – Still sounds intriguing, huh? (too bad)
As the plot unfolds it turns out Claudia just discovered that certain artifacts are missing, and that Claudia’s identical sister, Vanessa, is involved with Donati. Veronica husband, Carlo is, according to Donati, the reason Claudia is dead. Carlo is involved in antiquities as well as the underworld – and laundering dirty money and artworks/artifacts through the Vatican. The money gets redirected to Hezbollah. Bottom line the Palestinians have done a lot of nefarious things in this FICTION! – the Israelis have been conned, double-dealt, and murdered, their treasures back to antiquity stolen, trashed and sold, and their history denied. I’m truly not interested. Fwiw, Silva is a convert to Judaism and continues his own commentary on into the author’s notes. What a waste of talent.