Deadly Autumn Harvest by Tony Mott

Deadly Autumn Harvest by Tony Mott

“She had learnt to befriend dead bodies a long time ago, but she still had a difficult relationship with the cold. Probably because she was still alive.” Meet Gigi, (do NOT call her Regina) Tony Mott’s witty, fearless and astute pathologist consultant to Brașov’s new Police Unit for Behavioural Analysis. Gigi “…generally didn’t like crowds, the noise, the incessant chatter. In her childhood, she’d had a recurring dream – that everyone had turned to stone and she was the only one awake and alive.”

Author Tony Mott, winner of the 2022 Romanian Mystery & Thriller Award.

While working on her doctorate, she’s called in to assist in the investigation of the murder of actress Andrada Vasiliu. Gigi’s investigative instincts are aroused when she sees the body, unclothed and arranged in an unusual position.

Gigi has a playful, comfortable relationship with most of her colleagues and their back-and-forth moves the plot along at a good clip. This is a contrast to her complicated relationship with Vlad Tomescu, a Police Chief and Gigi’s former (married) lover. He’s assigned to the team when other murders appear to be connected to Andrada’s. “The two years she had been with Vlad had taken her to the cliff edge, and it could all have ended far worse than it did.”

When a second body is found at a hairdresser’s salon, Gigi’s intuition is that the murders are connected. This meets with skepticism from everyone, especially since initially, she can’t put her finger on what that connection is.

Chapters alternate between Gigi’s story and descriptions of the murders as they happen, but this does not allow the reader to solve the mystery before her. To make things even more challenging, not all the key events are murders. A flood at a thoroughbred stable and an explosion at an art gallery give Gigi the keys that start to unlock that elusive connection.

Gigi is extremely focused on solving these cases even though she is distracted by Vlad’s presence on the investigative team, and a possible new romance. I don’t want to spoil the excitement of what Gigi discovers about the links between the crimes, but it’s both unusual and compelling. Unusual enough that she has to struggle to overcome the strong doubts her team has regarding her “far-fetched” theory about the perpetrator’s motives.“‘For heaven’s sake, Gigi, haven’t you got anything better to do than tell us a story about the creation of the world or what?’ Matei interrupted her.

In “Deadly Autumn Harvest”, Romanian author Tony Mott has created an unusual mix of a serial killer mystery and the world of myths and legends. I loved the combination; my mother introduced me to the tales of Norse, Greek and Roman mythology when I was very young and they’ve never lost their fascination. Mott has woven these two aspects into a great read. I’m grateful to Corylus Books for publishing this book, the first novel in the Gigi Alexa series to be translated into English. I look forward to the future English editions of Mott’s books, and want to credit Marina Sofia for a translation that preserves the subtlety and wit of the original text. Any mystery fan will want to catch up with Gigi and her future cases!

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