When Michelangelo, a young autistic child, goes missing, Commissario Sergio Striggio is put in charge of the investigation. Searches turn up nothing, but there is an interesting connection with the mother’s past: when she was a child, her twin brother also went missing, never to be found.
However, Striggio is finding it difficult to concentrate on the case. He is waiting for his father, Pietro, to come and stay. The idea of the visit is torturing him. He fears having to reveal that he is gay – most of all he fears that his partner, Leo, will reveal his sexuality to his father. Pietro, however, has other matters on his mind: he has news of a devastating diagnosis to share with his son.
And when his life with Leo unexpectedly collides with his investigation into Michelangelo’s disappearance, it seems that in the complicated web of the small town of Bolzano, the truth behind the mystery cannot hide for long.
Valse Triste is a crime novel, sure, but at the heart of it is a beautifully written character drama, an exploration of the underneath that makes us who we are.
Our main protagonist, Sergio, is a layered and emotive character to follow along with, especially within his relationship with his father, a complex and cleverly crafted one that digs deep.
The mystery element and the weaving, intricate ties to small town secrets is really well done and compelling, unpredictable and addictive.
Overall this was a great read. I look forward to more from this author.