A good detective story taking place in a beautiful part of Italy is a real treat for people who enjoy reading crime mysteries and also happen to love Italy. Use this website to find out more about the locations, the lifestyle and the food and the wine experienced by the characters created by your favourite authors.


Death in a Strange Country

A Commissario Brunetti mystery by Donna Leon

Brunetti investigates the death of a young American soldier whose body has been found floating in a Venetian canal in this second book of the series.

His enquiries take him out to the American military base near Vicenza where he is intrigued by the conversations he has with the young man’s commanding officer, an attractive female doctor who, he feels, is hiding something.

At the same time, Brunetti becomes involved in enquiries following the theft of valuable paintings from a palazzo on the Grand Canal owned by a wealthy businessman from Milan.

His superior officer, Vice-Questore Patta, wants to explain away the death of the American soldier as a robbery gone wrong and treat the burglary at the palazzo at face value.

But Brunetti is not satisfied with these convenient explanations. He demonstrates his passion for uncovering the truth and striving to achieve justice for the victims of crime by pursuing the investigations in his own time and at considerable risk to himself.

We learn more about the aristocratic background of his wife, Paola, an opinionated university lecturer, and the powerful connections of his father-in-law, Count Orazio Falier, in this novel.

We also see the respect and trust Brunetti inspires in his fellow police officers and even in the relatives of criminals.

Brunetti bravely sticks to his task, despite the corruption at the highest level going on behind the scenes, until he finally learns the truth about the American’s death and the burglary at the palazzo.

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Death of a Dutchman

A Marshal Guarnaccia mystery

In the heat of the summer in Florence, the Marshal embarks on a single-handed mission to bring a person to justice for murder.

He had been called out to investigate after an old lady heard suspicious noises coming from a neighbouring apartment and after gaining entrance he had discovered a dying man.

The victim was a young Dutch jeweller who occasionally used the apartment when he visited Florence on business. Although the officers called in to investigate the death come to the conclusion that he has committed suicide, the Marshal has misgivings.

He makes a few unofficial enquiries of his own and eventually has a suspect in his sights. Unable to intervene officially, and conscious that the murderer will get away with it if he doesn’t do anything, the Marshal embarks on an exhausting pursuit of his quarry throughout the city, hoping to uncover the proof that he needs.

It is an intriguing and absorbing story revealing Magdalen Nabb’s detailed knowledge of Florence. It should come as no surprise that the novelist Georges Simenon referred to Death of a Dutchman as ‘a masterpiece’. 

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(Florence picture by Makalu from Pixabay)