Requiem in La Rossa
Date Published05 May 2023
Price£ 9.99

Requiem in La Rossa

by Tom Benjamin

When a university professor appears to meet his death at the hands of a young drug addict outside the opera, Daniel Leicester is asked by an aging rockstar friend to try to prove the young man’s innocence. 


A university professor drops dead outside the Opera in Bologna. A young drug addict is accused of his murder. Private investigator Daniel Leicester is already following a cheating wife and now takes on the additional task of trying to prove the innocence of the accused man against the backdrop of Bologna shaken by numerous aftershocks from the recent earthquake.

The atmosphere in the city is very hot, fraught with tension and frustration. Daniel Leicester is living with his daughter, Rose, and his ex-father-in-law, the Comandante, who runs the firm of private investigators for whom Daniel works. As always, Daniel has different ideas from the conventional police and sets great store in finding out the truth. In this respect he does not have a lot of patience with Italian bureaucracy and is not helped in being accepted, by his predilection for picking locks if a door gets in his way. When Daniel’s daughter and her friend become seriously ill, Daniel realises that he has to work quickly to avert more deaths.

Daniel’s English background gives him a unique perspective on life in Bologna. This allows him to see the city in a particularly observant way. Descriptions of the landscape, the buildings, the history and the traditions abound. Descriptions are woven in and out of the story in such a way as to paint a comprehensive picture of daily life in the city, both inside and outside the buildings. Several different storylines intertwine, with Daniel as the common factor. This fills the atmosphere with intrigue and mystery, cloaking details of Daniel’s love life and his past, covering the cheating partners and shrouding the various deaths. Everything is comes withwith a touch of artistic freedom, partly due to Rose’s teacher, Stella, who is an artist, and the café where she give lessons to Rose, surrounded by non-conformist people from in the university and the Arts.

This story is one in a series of Daniel Leicester books. Trying to work out the identity of the various characters is not particularly straight forward as the information appears almost by chance as the story unfolds. Indeed, towards the end of the book, some selective re-reading was necessary to find out who some of the characters were and how they had previously fitted in with the story. Characters passed over as minor and insignificant early in the book take on greatly increased importance as the story unfolds. This slightly vague approach to storytelling helps to create what is undoubtedly a very genuine Italian atmosphere to the whole book. Requiem in La Rossa is very readable with bags of intrigue, full of Bolognese atmosphere, intelligent and artistic people, and plenty of dead bodies.

Reviewed 29 April 2023 by Sylvia Maughan