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Cold Tuscan Stone: A Rick Montoya Italian Mystery    by David P. Wagner Amazon.com order for
Cold Tuscan Stone
by David P. Wagner
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

This may not be the most action-filled mystery you've ever read. But it will keep you flipping the pages well into the night. Cold Tuscan Stone by David Wagner touched a spot in my travel-loving heart. Volterra in Tuscany, Italy remains a lovely memory. I was fortunate enough to spend a day there with two friends. It houses the only parking garage I have ever used where the steps from the lower level were marble!

Rick Montoya has moved to Rome to work as a translator. An old school friend, Beppo, a senior in the Italian Art Squad, enlists Rick's help in tracing traffickers in priceless Etruscan funeral urns. Rick walks right into the thick of things when a gallery employee he has just met falls to his death from a high cliff.

Rick becomes a suspect because he is the last to have seen the man alive (aside from the real killer, one assumes). And we get to enjoy the highlights of Volterra with Rick (author Wagner does this so well, tying the touring of this lovely city in with Rick's clues as to whom might be dealing in illegal contraband).

Rick, as a suspect, meets some pretty intriguing people who make it onto his own suspect list: a museum director, a top gallery owner, a low-profile import/export businessman, a sensuous heiress with a private art specialty of her own. Take your pick. He is assisted by his girlfriend Erica.

I don't know which held my attention more the highlights of Volterra or the unmasking by Rick of the culprits. Don't miss this one. Apart from Volterra, it's a darn good read. Throw in Volterra and you've got yourself a winner.

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