World War II has ended, and Venice is unscathed — or so it would seem. However, when Nazi-hunter Adam Miller lands there to visit his mother after his release from the Army, he finds that it reverberates with all the residual conflicts and tensions of the time. Sheltered at first among his mother’s wealthy expatriate friends, all of them oblivious to the grim reality around them, Adam soon becomes involved with a mysterious young Jewish woman who somehow survived the camps, then launches an investigation of his mother’s suitor, a Venetian doctor of an illustrious old family who seems too good to be true. His quickening relationship with the young woman, Claudia Grassini, and his hunt for the truth about Dr. Maglione’s past, merge in tragedy, baring the gaping sores left by the war and the deep roots of corruption in Italian society.

Alibi by Joseph Kanon ★★★★☆

Alibi was the fourth of Joseph Kanon’s five novels of suspense in the years following World War II. Like The Good German, perhaps the best known of his books because it was made into a movie starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett, Alibi is set in Europe. All Kanon’s books feature fully realized characters full of flaws and contradictions as well as the author’s consummate mastery of suspense.

Somehow, though, Alibi is less satisfying than Kanon’s other books. Adam Miller’s motivation is at times difficult to grasp, and his relationship with Claudia Grassini, though entirely believable as a sexual adventure, is more difficult to understand on any deeper level.

For further reading

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