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The Marshal’s Own Case

A Marshal Guarnaccia Investigation by Magdalen Nabb

Marshall Guarnaccia investigates grisly goings-on after dark in Florence
Marshall Guarnaccia investigates grisly
goings-on after dark in Florence
Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia’s superior officer in the Carabinieri, Captain Maestrangelo, puts him in charge of a murder case after a chopped up body is found in plastic bags on his territory.

It takes the Marshal away from his familiar world in the Carabinieri station at the Pitti Palace and plunges him into the nocturnal world of the transgender prostitutes operating in Florence.

For despite having breasts, the body which has been neatly sawn into pieces and dispersed between a number of plastic bags, turns out to be that of a man not a woman.

Despite observing that the Marshal never has much to say for himself, the Captain rates his ability and knows that the Marshal doesn’t miss much, as evidenced by his previous successes.

But the Marshal has to learn quickly, in order to operate within a community he has no experience of, and which seems a long way from the daily difficulties of tourists and their lost property and passports that he is used to.

He is dismayed when the Captain hands him a pile of files relating to previous murders of prostitutes and their clients in Florence, all of which are marked Unsolved.

Magdalen Nabb set 14
crime novels in Florence
But the Captain does assign to him one of his own men, Ferrini, a friendly and talkative officer, who knows his way around in the shadowy world of transgender prostitution.

Guarnaccia quickly develops some sympathy for the tragic men, who have had surgery and been given hormone treatments to make them look like women, so that they can satisfy the desires of their regular clients, who are usually seemingly respectable men living in Florence.

When Peppina, one of the transgender prostitutes, is arrested and locked in a cell, suspected of the murder of what turns out to be Lulu, one of her rivals, Guarnaccia believes she is not guilty of the crime.

He is so sure of Peppina’s innocence, despite the evidence against her, he insists on continuing his inquiries, even though he is urged to drop the investigation because the Prosecutor has said he is satisfied with the result.

Against a backdrop of other problems, with one of his two young sons not doing well at school and getting into trouble, and his wife urging him to look for the missing son of an acquaintance from back home in Sicily, he keeps going out at night in terrible weather to try to solve the crime to his own satisfaction.

His patience and tenacity pays off and he catches the real killer, strives to get the most lenient sentence for Peppina for other charges she is facing, and can then finally turn his attention to his own, troubled young son.

This is another compelling mystery by Magdalen Nabb, which exposes a shadowy part of life going on at night in the beautiful, historic city of Florence. 

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