Created by Michael Z. Lewin
In Bath, England, when you get in a jam, you could do worse than call in THE LUNGHI DETECTIVE AGENCY, run by three generations (and counting) of a loud and unruly, but affectionate Italian-Anglo family.
Not exactly a hard-boiled series, but there’s plenty of fun in this series, as the various family members — siblings, children and parents — constantly squawk and squabble with each other, even as they work on a variety of cases, involving everything from petty theft to murder. Everyone, from Papa to young Davey seems to be working on his or her own agenda, and the narrative jumps all over the place. Fortunately, everything always seems to be smoothed over, and loose ends ultimately tied up thanks to Mama, plenty of home-cooking and endless pots of tea.
Besides Papa and Mama, there are the kids: Salvatore, Angelo, and Rosetta. Rosetta keeps the agency’s books, and Angelo and his wife, Gina, have two teenage children of their own, Marie and David, who also get involved in the cases. Never lost for a scheme to raise money, the family also owns a string of adjoining buildings, and supplement their income by renting out the street level shops that line their buildings, and Mama at one point even has plans for opening a restaurant.
Only Salvatore, the oldest son, lives elsewhere. He’s the oddball — the reluctant detective who prefers painting over sleuthing, and only works when he needs cash for his art supplies. But he’s just one of several colourful characters who weave in and out of a slew of amusing subplots, and keep things popping.
Author Lewin, a transplanted American who now makes his home in Somerset, England, is probably best known for his series featuring quirky, off-beat Indianapolis P.I. Albert Samson. He also written radio dramas for the BBC.
RECOMMENDED IF YOU LIKE:
- Izzy Spellman by Lisa Lutz
- “Family Business” (1988, Winter’s Crimes 20)
- “Wedding Bells” (1990, New Crimes 2)
- “Gains and Losses” (1993, Midwinter Mysteries 3)
- “Travel Plans” (April 1994, AHMM)
- “Gunpoint” (December 2000, EQMM)
- “Pay Phone” (March 2001, AHMM)
- “The Jane Case” (May 2005, AHMM)
- “And Maybe More” (September/October 2005, EQMM)
- “Love and Death” (December 2010, AHMM)
- The Reluctant Detective and Other Stories (2001) | Buy this book
Twenty-one stories, including six featuring the Lunghi family.
- Family Trio (2011) | Kindle it!
Contains three stories about the Lunghi family: “Gun Point,” “The Jane Case,” and “And Maybe More”
- Family Business (1995) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Family Planning (1999) | Buy this book
- Family Way (2011) | Buy this book | Kindle it!