|Plot Summary of Killer Smile|
HarperCollins, Jun 2004, 25.95, 368 pp.
Amadeo Brandolini moved from Italy to Philadelphia where he found work as a fisherman. He soon marries and begins a family when World War II breaks out. The FBI incarcerates Amadeo as one of ten-thousand Italian-Americans designated as an enemy. Amadeo is sent to Fort Missoula, Montana without the benefit of a trial to work in the sugar beet field. Not long afterward, Amadeo works with one other person and no one else in the vicinity. He is later found dead, ruled a suicide.
Years later, Amadeo's son “hires” Mary DiNunzio of Rosato and Associates to sue the government for reparations. Being from South Philly like the victim and her client, the case means a lot more than her usual load to Mary. However, she never expected the roadblocks put up by the Feds nor that Amadeo might have been murdered and that her inquiries have brought her to the attention of the Saracones family who willingly will murder to keep World War II data interred in a dusty archive.
Harriet Klausner, Resident Scholar
|"Mary DiNunzio is retained to investigate property appropriation of long-ago internment camp veteran Amadeo Bandolini. She finds a story of a young man who apparently committed suicide over sixty years ago. Ordered out of town, Mary visits the site of the camp in Missoula, Montana, and becomes convinced Amadeo didn't commit suicide. He was murdered. And, in the present, the lawyer for Amadeo's son's estate is also murdered.
Mary soon learns the identity of the murderer, although she hasn't a shred of proof. And there's no motive.
In the style we've come to expect from Scottoline, Mary can't just leave matters to the police. She undertakes a spot of breaking-and-entering, faces down a very wealthy and powerful adversary, falls into a trap that gets her locked into a car trunk, and a whole lot more. Meanwhile, she's dodging a series of blind dates from nice-enough guys who don't stand a chance with the ghost of her dead husband, Mike. Her aging parents confront health challenges. And she matches wits with Judy Carrier, her all-time best friend.
Cathy Goodwin, Resident Scholar
|"Attorneys often work late. They often lose track of time when immersed in law books and legal briefs. But when Mary DiNunzio gets a phone call from a man threatening to kill her, she instantly regrets being alone in the office at 10 o'clock at night. She can hardly leave quickly enough. Once outside, though, she believes she is being followed and can't shake the feeling that someone is watching her every move. It doesn't seem possible that anyone could be interested in the case she is working on, since it is a straightforward case of finding and returning property to one Amadeo Brandolini, a detainee from the camps of WWII. DiNunzio wants to serve justice by reimbursing his estate for the loss of some boats. Seems pretty benign.
Bennie, head of the all-female law firm, gives specific orders for Mary to cease work on Amadeo's file. She has business out of town and needs some important cases covered in her absence. In the spirit of pleasing the boss, Mary agrees, with somewhat exaggerated enthusiasm. She immediately ignores Bennie's orders, landing her in hot water not only with her boss and some influential clients, but also the sinister forces trying to keep her from learning an old and highly damaging secret. With so much at stake, they aren't about to let an impetuous lawyer meddle in their business.
Lisa Scottoline ratchets up the action when DiNunzio returns from a discovery trip to Montana. Having picked up some good leads there, Mary sneaks out to pursue some of them and nearly returns in an ambulance. In addition to trying to avoid the office tattletale, Bennie's files and some nasty folks bent on doing her harm, she tries to dodge an endless parade of well-meaning matchmakers. Too many of her friends --- okay, nearly all of them --- believe she needs to get over her dead husband and start dating again. With all of this going on, Mary's plate is beyond overflowing.
eyal, Resident Scholar
|Review Analysis of Killer Smile|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Composition of Book
descript. of violence and chases - 10%
Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives - 33.3%
Feelings, relationships, character bio/development - 40%
How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) - 16.7%
Tone of story
- very upbeat
How difficult to spot villain?
- Moderately Challenging
Time/era of story:
- present (2000-2010)
What % of story relates directly
to the mystery, not the subplot?
Misc. Murder Plotlets
- solving long-past murder
Kind of investigator
- amateur citizen investigator
Kid or adult book?
- Adult or Young Adult Book
Any non-mystery subplot?
- feelings towards family/friends
Murder Mystery (killer unknown)
General Crime (including known murderer)
- a lawyer creature
How much violence does he/she use?
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
How sensitive is this character?
- hard edged
- Smarter than most other characters
- mostly 3rd
Amount of dialog
- significantly more dialog than descript