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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Temporary Perfections - Gianrico Carofiglio Rating: 4.5* of fiveThe Book Report: Fourth in the Guido Guerrieri series of Italian legal thrillers, this entry is not a procedural but a traditional private eye investigation. It is a true noir, set in Bari...a weirdly San Franciscan venue, and my how well its noirness is invoked.Counselor Guerrieri, as the new translator calls him, is mid-flow on one of his usual if not terribly interesting workdays. He's had to move his law practice into new, American-ish offices because his former secretary has passed the bar and is now of counsel, and the adopted Peruvian daughter of some old friends is in there with him too. Plus a new secretary inherited from a deceased colleague. What was once snug became claustrophobic. So now Guido looks around himself, hating the slickness and the newness, and feeling all at sixes and sevens with his solitary life.In walks an old colleague, with the zombified parents of a six-months-missing daughter. The Carabinieri, sort of a cross between the sheriffs and the FBI, must have missed something, Guido; you find people, you solve cases, Guido; please, my clients will pay you just to look over the file, Guido, please help them, look at them, they can't function, help them!What co-dependent with a savior complex could resist such a plea? Not our Guido! No matter that he's a lawyer, not a PI, and no matter that the cop min charge of the case when it was opened is a friend of his, a man he respects, whose investigatory talents he trusts. Someone Needs Guido! And we're off, talking to the friends of vanished Manuela already interviewed, chasing down leads that have grown cold, being seduced and boinked by gorgeous, curvaceous young suspects...all the noir PI tropes are here, and well deployed.In the end, Counselor Guerrieri solves the tawdry case, as everyone knows he will, but the fact that a Sherlock Holmes short story is the trigger that presents the solution to him is a touch I treasure. That the crime is solved and the guilty punished is a reason to read any fictional mystery, since real life seldom offers such order and satisfaction.My Review: But then there are the dissatisfactions of this outing in the series. It is not a legal procedural thriller. There is no doubt in the mind of anyone at all that the vanished girl is dead from the get-go, so the suspense is only moderate. I am no fan of the sudden sea change in the direction, for all that I like noirs. I want my legal procedural fix! And then there's the weirdness of the book being published by Rizzoli. ..!!.. That's right, the pretty-pictures people! It's a nice job, and it's not like they printed the book on 100-pound glossy paper and used overly ornamental dingbats on every page, but it's...unsettling...sort of like finding gay porn in your mama's nightstand. Error 404: File Not Found.So why give it 4.5 stars, if I hate it? I don't hate it, it's quite well written, if translated in a way I'm less happy with that the previous two-book translator [[Howard Curtis]] did the job. But the main reason I've rated the book so highly is the portrayal of the bereaved parents.***************SPOILER***************************I've mentioned before that I lost my son when he was two. No worse thing can happen to a person. Manuela's father, heartbreakingly, goes to the train station and waits for his girl to get off the train. He walks up and down the train searching the faces of the arriving passengers, praying hoping believing that one will be his daughter. Guido, who witnesses this, is so powerfully moved that one can feel him suffering for, suffering with, truly having compassion for the mad father. This brief, perfectly imagined, beautifully underplayed scene is worth four stars on its own.*************END SPOILER************************Recommended.