Author: Genni Gunn
Genre: Murder Mystery
The bullet-riddled body was discovered by accident. The man, barely more than a boy, had been dead for a while. But that wasn’t the real mystery. No- the real mystery of who was found in the walls of the old Italian home slated for demolition was why Vito Santoro’s body was there at all. He had left for Argentina years ago, but then had gone missing. Why was he here and why was he murdered?
And so the mystery is slowly unraveled as Vito’s sister Pieto tells her nephew David about the family in Italy he never knew as he grew up in Canada. She recalls the hard times for Italians living hand to mouth after World War II, and the struggles her family went through to find themselves and survive.
But there is more here than just the families struggles and as we go back into the 1940s to relive with Pieta the family that was once held together by a dark family secret that only Pieta now knows, and is not sure she is ready to reveal. It is a secret that is somehow tied to Vito and the reasons for his death. Beneath the all too thin layer of family lies a secret life of rivalry and resentment, vice and love and hidden at the bottom of it all – death.
Author Genni Gunn’s Italian roots show clearly in this novel, as we are drenched in the Italian sun and surrounded by the cultural heritage of a land that has seen its share of power, struggle and despair. In Solitaria we have been given a treat from an author who has written poetry, novels, and lately an opera. Her work has been short-listed for numerous awards and she continues to delight in the mystery that delivers a nuanced voice that I hope we will be hearing more of soon.