Suspected Death of a Minor / Morte sospetta di una minorenne (1975)

3.0 out of 5

This poliziotteschi / giallo fusion from the then-winning triumvirate of director Sergio Martino, producer Luciano Martino and scribe Ernesto Gastaldi isn't their best work, but is interesting nonetheless. Claudio Cassinelli's undercover cop employs highly unorthodox but seemingly effective methods to get to the bottom of the mystery of a  brutally murdered girl, much to the vexation of his superior, Mel Merrer. As he uncovers a tangled web of sleaze and white slavery, more fall prey to a sinister assassin clearly in the employ of a very big fish.

There's an overlong comedy car chase, some silliness involving stealing sex workers' handbags, and one is left to ponder the significance of Cassinelli's constantly cracked spectacle lenses, but it's great to see the late actor out on the rampage like this and the various threads of the story all come together extremely well in the last act. A super-groovy Goblin-cloning score from Luciano Micheli helps things along nicely. Suspected Death of a Minor may never be accused of being a masterpiece, but it remains a solidly engaging and underrated work from three prolific master artisans.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics