“A final reminder of why [Nabb] is irreplaceable among English speaking novelists who write mysteries with Italian locales. Like the 13 previous novels in this series set in Florence and featuring Marshal Guarnaccia, Vita Nuova reflects the sensibility of someone who sees much, speaks softly and takes pity on strangers.” —The New York Times Book Review
Marshal Guarnaccia’s sense of malaise sets in as Florence closes for the summer holiday. But outside the quiet city, a wealthy young woman is shot to death in her parents’ villa. A single mother pursuing her doctorate seems an unlikely target for slaughter, but perhaps the marshal can parse the truth from her unusual family.
The fourteenth and final Florentine mystery featuring Marshal Guarnaccia
The body of a woman has been found half-submerged in an ornamental fish pond high up in Florence’s Boboli Gardens. At first, the corpse cannot be identified, rendered unrecognizable by feeding fish, but the Marshal traces other clues to find answers. The victim was a young Japanese woman apprenticed to one of Florence’s legendary custom shoemakers, crotchety old Peruzzi. Could he have killed his protégé? Or did jealousy drive his other apprentice to murder? The neighbors have seen Akiko with a lover—a brilliant young carabinieri—who has disappeared. Has he fled to avoid arrest? The marshal must travel to Rome to complete his investigation.
When an elderly woman drops by the Florentine carabinieri to complain that someone broke in to her apartment while she was out, Marshal Guarnaccia listens patiently, offers advice, and vows to pay her a visit. But before he can keep his promise, Miss Hirsch is found dead, her throat cut. She wasn’t the only person to come to the Marshal for help in recent days. There’s also a young Albanian prostitute, who wants his help to stay out of prison, and a wealthy foreign robbery victim whose case the captain is quick to prioritize. The Marshal has his hands full, and his best efforts may not be enough to stop a murderer
The American-born founder of a prominent fashion house, Contessa Olivia Brunamonti, is mistaken for her daughter and kidnapped by a group of Sardinian shepherds. They’re holding her deep in the Tuscan hills and have demanded a huge sum for her return. Her daughter failed to report the incident for over a week, and the family’s assets have been frozen by an Italian government that forbids paying ransom. But the kidnappers can’t release their victim without being paid—it would set a bad precedent. And Guarnaccia suspects another problem: Could it be that Olivia’s children don’t want to save their mother? Is this more than just a random crime?
Based on a chilling true crime, The Monster of Florence follows the reopening of a cold case—a serial killer who terrorized Florence for two decades.
Marshal Guarnaccia’s job with the Carabinieri usually involves restoring stolen handbags to grateful old ladies and lost cameras to bewildered tourists. So when he is assigned to work with the Florence police in trying to track down a vicious serial killer, he feels out of his league. The crimes he must try to understand are grotesque, the case materials harrowing. To make matters worse, the Proc he must report to is Simonetti, the same man he knows drove an innocent man to suicide several years earlier in his blind quest for a conviction.
A prominent writer is found dead in the Villa Torrini outside of Florence without any marks of physical harm on her. Her husband, who was heavily intoxicated in the next room, is exhibiting signs of guilt, but the carabinieri are having trouble finding concrete evidence against him. Marshal Guarnaccia, who is already struggling with a strict diet and the intricacies of a new legal system, has little faith in his own ability to solve the case, but his intuition turns out to be invaluable.
A member of one of the oldest aristocratic families in Florence is dead. When Marshal Guarnaccia arrives at the scene, in the courtyard of the crumbling Palazzo Ulderighi, he knows instinctively that something is amiss. The evidence suggests suicide, the family—including the victim’s wife, the financially troubled Marchesa Ulderighi—insists it was an accident, and the Marshal suspects something far more malevolent. While mounting an investigation against the Florentine elite means putting his very career on the line, Marshal Guarnaccia remains determined to see justice done.
For the first time, Marshal Guarnaccia is assigned to be lead on a murder investigation. When the dismembered body of a beautiful woman turns out to be that of a transsexual prostitute, the marshal must leave his snug home near the Pitti Palace for the shadowy underworld of Florence’s sex trade. Another transsexual is then arrested for the murder, but the marshal is convinced the Carabinieri have made a mistake. Can he find proof before the man he believes to be innocent is confined to life in prison?
Out giving his wife driving lessons, Marshal Guarnaccia of the Carabinieri witnesses a disturbance in the streets involving a local eccentric, “crazy Clementina.” When the woman is found dead in her apartment soon after the incident of an apparent suicide, the marshal is puzzled and immediately suspects foul play. But who would have a motive to kill her? As the marshal dives into the case and reconstructs Clementina’s tragic past, his investigation dredges up the events surrounding a disastrous flood some twenty years earlier and a controversial piece of legislation with profound effects on the lives of Italy’s mentally unstable residents.
A young Swiss art student has been reported missing, and Marshal Guarnaccia must travel to the small town where she was studying to find out the truth about her disappearance. When her body is found, it appears that she was the victim of a sex-related crime. But Guarnaccia—who comes from a small town himself—suspects that a local feud with roots in the horrors and betrayals of World War II may play an important part in the solution to the crime.
The body of a woman, clad in nothing but a fur coat and jewelry, is found floating in the Arno at dawn. Marshal Guarnaccia of the Florentine carabinieri identifies her as a foreigner who lived for years as a recluse in one of Florence’s most respectable hotels. But how and why did she die? Following a complex trail of blackmail, jewel theft, and drug-dealing, Marshal Guarnaccia finally tracks down the shocking truths about a cold-blooded murderer and his all-too-trusting victim.
Italian law forbids paying ransom to criminals, and Marshal Guarnaccia must find the missing girl before her kidnappers decide to end her life.
Two foreign girls are abducted from a Florence piazza in broad daylight. The unusual March snowfall has distracted everyone, even the marshal, who is unsure of what he has actually witnessed. One of the girls turns up in a village in the Chianti, claiming the kidnappers have released her to propose a ransom for the other victim. But the marshal thinks she’s lying.
“The richest mystery here, however, is Florence itself, whose intricate politics and class structure Nabb parses with precision and wit.” —Washington Post Book World
Summoned by an aged woman to investigate mysterious noises in the vacant flat next to hers, Marshal Guarnaccia discovers a dying Dutch jeweler. The old lady had known him when he was a boy growing up in Florence. Could he have returned to the family home just to commit suicide? Or could the man be the victim of a cunning murderer?
It is just before Christmas and the marshal wants to go South to spend the holiday with his wife and family, but first he must recover from the flu (which has left the Florentine caribinieri short-handed) and also solve a murder. A seemingly respectable retired Englishman, living in a flat on the Via Maggio near the Santa Trinita bridge, was shot in the back during the night. He was well-connected and Scotland Yard has despatched two officers to “assist” the Italians in solving the crime. But it is the marshal, a quiet observer, not an intellectual, who manages to figure out what happened, and why.
“Guarnaccia is one of fiction’s most satisfying detectives, a man whose domestic life is as fascinating as his cases . . . The series began with Death of an Englishman and is distinguished by its superb sense of place.” —The Times’ ”One Hundred Masters of Crime”
Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia of the Florentine Carabinieri wants to go south for Christmas to spend the holiday with his family in Sicily, but a retired Englishman living in Florence has been murdered. Who has shot Mr. Langley-Smythe in the back? The marshal must discover the identity of the criminal and the motive for the crime before he can take the train home for the holidays.