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 Springtime

A Marshal Guarnaccia mystery by Magdalen Nabb


Magdalen Nabb's story begins in late winter in Marshal Guarnaccia's home city of Florence
Magdalen Nabb's story begins in late winter in
Marshal Guarnaccia's home city of Florence
When a wealthy American student is kidnapped in Florence with one of her college friends, the Carabinieri move swiftly to try to find her before she comes to any harm.

English-speaking Lieutenant Bacci tries to win the confidence of the girl’s friend after she is released by the kidnappers and found wandering in the countryside.

And Captain Maestrangelo and a new Substitute Prosecutor organise a massive operation to search the part of the Tuscan hills where the confused girl was discovered.

But it is Marshal Guarnaccia’s enquiries on his own patch near Palazzo Pitti, the area of the city where the American girl had been staying, that yield the clues that eventually lead to the kidnappers.

Magdalen Nabb tells the story cleverly, paving the way towards an outcome that is completely unexpected.

The story begins on the first of March with snow falling in Florence, which provides a big distraction for the local people at the time the young women are kidnapped.

And Death in Springtime ends with such a surprise that it will give the reader something to think about long after they have finished the last page.

(Image by Mark Gilder from Pixabay)

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River of Shadows

A Commissario Soneri Investigation by Valerio Varesi

The landscape of the River Po features strongly in River of Shadows
The landscape of the River Po features
strongly in River of Shadows
This is a novel where the setting can truly said to be the main character in the story.

Much of the action takes place along the banks of the River Po, at a point on the waterway that is an equal distance between the cities of Cremona and Parma.

Commissario Soneri finds himself drawn to the cold, foggy landscape, where incessant rain has made the waters rise to dangerous heights. He is trying to solve a mystery concerning two brothers, now old men, who were both known to be fascists in the past. One has been found dead, apparently having fallen from a window at a hospital in Parma and the other has gone missing, believed to have been out on the river on his barge in the bad weather.

Soneri spends a lot of time musing over clues in the warmth of restaurants while he samples the local food and wine. He is also distracted by having to please his girlfriend, Angela, an unpredictable avvocatessa - lawyer - who turns up at inconvenient moments during the book.

He talks to the old people determined to live their lives and earn their living in this inhospitable landscape. He finds it is a community where people are still divided from each other by the events of the Second World War that took place in the area. He is constantly being told that the River Po both 'gives and takes' and that when the waters fall again, all will be revealed.

Despite opposition from his superiors who want him back in Parma, Soneri remains convinced that the answers lie with the river and he is determined to follow his instincts and continue investigating until he has got to the bottom of the mystery and tracked down who is responsible.

River of Shadows is a compelling story, well translated into English by Joseph Farrell, and the novel is rich in atmosphere and full of local, background detail.

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(Picture by mdall olio0 from Pixabay)