The Crime Readers' Association

“The Red Death” by Abraham Kawa

4th July 2023


1970. After a disturbing murder case left DI Chris Bates’ mental health shattered, he spends time recovering in an asylum before being released to a halfway house. When he receives a photo of ex-police photographer Helen Briant from Rome along with a message to join him there, a hint that she’s in trouble and the fact he has nothing tying him to home make Chris decide to go. 

In Rome, a tip directs Chris to a swank beach party where he discovers two men trying to drown Helen. In hospital, Helen, who has joined an activist artists’ commune, tells him that the murder attempt is connected to the party’s hosts, a socialite couple whose circle she has frequented after they became interested in her work. They fell out after Helen started receiving threatening calls accusing her of a blackmail attempt she knows nothing about.

When one of the socialites, and others in his circle, are found murdered, Helen is hauled in for questioning. Keen to clear Helen’s name, Chris is determined to untangle the mystery. But the further they delve into it, the more victims are found, and the stakes become even higher. For in Rome, these are Years of Lead… and death.

The Red Death is the second procedural crime novel in an exciting historical mystery series by Abraham Kawa, the Bates and Briant Investigations — gritty, hard-boiled thrillers set in that twilight time as the Swinging Sixties are turning into the Sleazy Seventies.

You can read more about Abraham and his books here.

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