Death of a Serpent (Serafina Florio, #1)
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Death of a Serpent (Serafina Florio #1)

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  89 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Three bodies . . . A dark secret . . . And one woman determined to uncover the truth. Sicily, October 1866. At a high-class house near Palermo, three women are knifed to death, their foreheads slashed with a strange mark, their bodies dumped on the madam's doorstep. Infuriated with the inept police inspector who does nothing to solve the crimes, the madam summons her frien...more
Paperback, 275 pages
Published May 28th 2012 by Conca d'Oro Publishing (first published January 7th 2012)
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Guido Mattioni
I've just ended reading Susan Russo Anderson's novel Death of a Serpent. And there is just one word I can use: "Bravo"! I'm sorry, I correct myself: I've to say her "Bravo" almost three time. The first time as a common reader who found himself immersed in a crime case from the first until the last page. The second time as a colleague writer who did envy Susan's ability in telling us a nineteenth century mystery case with the catching and pressing tecnique of a modern movie. And the third time as...more
George Hamilton
With finely written prose rich in historical imagery, sound and other sense details of 1800s Sicily, Death of a Serpent was reminiscent of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon for this reader.

Recently widowed Serafina is a determined sleuth, adept at solving other people’s problems, which sometimes causes her to neglect her own family issues. She is called on by her good friend Rosa, the successful owner of a high class brothel, to investigate the murders of several of her prostitutes. Why are the women...more
Melissa Levine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
How I choose my star ratings:
1 = Groaner. Probably didn't even finish it.
2 = Yawner. Poorly written or weak story.
3 = Recliner. Sat back in my cozy chair and enjoyed the read.
4 = Page Turner. Hard to put down.
5 = Keeper. A story that stays with me.

This tale of intrigue and murder in a house of ill-repute set in 1866 Sicily is an enjoyable read. The main characters are feisty women. The supporting cast is varied and colorful. The sleuth, Serafina, reminds me a bit of Hercule Poirot in her approac...more
Marilou George
Sicily 1866, Serafina Floria midwife, mother of seven and a widow mourning the recent death of her husband from the cholera outbreak and the death of her beloved mother. Even though Serafina is in the midst of her own grief and turmoil she agrees to investigate the murders of three prostitutes working for her oldest and dearest friend Rosa, owner of the brothel.

This is a time in Italy where the Mafia was the law of the land and corruption was the norm. We meet the colorful and complex character...more
I tried to persevere with this book but it's just not worth it. It's a jumble of words with sentences that are incomplete and others that just don't make sense. The story jumps from paragraph to paragraph without structure. Characters and locations are not developed and are introduced haphazardly. Names of characters and places are just thrown in without explanation of who they are or description. The period is not represented accurately and is portrayed in a manner that is not representative of...more
1866, Sicily

A bossy/nosey/feisty widow Serafina Floria solves murders when the police haven't a clue or an interest in the killings. Interesting strong women,
faithful servants, and the beginnings of the mafia.
An enjoyable historical mysteries. Some things with the characters a little odd, but it works well enough. Good way to pass the evening and I wouldn't object to seeing how the series progresses.
Excellent. Very unique voice, loved the atmosphere, the characters. Great read!
Serafina is a widowed midwife from Sicily in the mid 1800's. Her childhood friend, Rosa is the madame of a local brothel. After three of her ladies are murdered and the police seem to be making little progress, Rosa, implores her friend to help solve the murders. Driven by loyalty to her friend and a deeply personal quest, Serafina agrees to help putting her family and herself at risk.

Author Susan Russo Anderson has crafted a novel that I would describe as dark, yet intriguing. Her use of langua...more
Book Him Danno
For starters I enjoyed this mystery and found the characters interesting along with the Madam. I was confused at a few spots and needed to read some of the book again. The mystery was enough to keep me guessing but I really missed the boat on who the killer was. I was surprised and needed to go back and figure out where we had met this character, the name was familiar I just couldn't place them.

I read this at night before bed and I hate to say it, but I kept falling asleep and waking up with my...more
May 08, 2013 Wendy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Giveaways
Death of a Serpent which I won from Goodreads Giveaways is one of the best historical murder-mysteries I have ever read. The story is set in Italy during a period of chaos; the poor are starving, bandits roam freely, and men flock to join General Garibaldi in his fight to unify the country. As the plot opens the latest murder victim has been found on the doorstep of a high-class house of prostitution near Palermo. When Inspector Colonna fails to help find the killer, Madam Rosa seeks the aid of...more
Margaret Hren
A fun discovery -- the first book in a mystery series that takes place in Sicily in the late 1800, with a midwife and widow as a sleuth. Though there were a few sections that dragged a little, it was a great story that brought in all the elements of a good mystery that kept you guessing. Ms. Anderson's storytelling voice and plotting with a great cast of characters who are intertwined reminds me of my favorite mystery writer Anne Perry. Can't wait to read the next one in this series.
Kelly Knapp
Aug 31, 2012 Kelly Knapp rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs, mystery buffs
Recommended to Kelly by: Goodreads Firstreads giveaway
Serafina is a wonderful, strong protagonist who is more than willing to tamper with evidence in order to find the murderer of high class escorts of Sicely's upperclass. I loved Serafina's handling of the infant, sweet, kind, and gentle, ensuring that it was taken in at the orphanage.

Anderson write with a fluency I have rarely seen and her history of nineteenth century Sicily is breathtaking. Inspector Colonna is priceless. It is hilarious to read of a chauvinism most of us have never experienced...more
A great mystery where the sleuth is a mid-wife, Serafina, who helps her childhood friend, brothel owner Rosa to solve who is murdering her girls. Set in Sicily in 1866, when Italy and Sicily are knee-deep in wars and Mafia Dons offer protection at a price, the police chief does not have time to solve the murders. Rosa and Serafina, and Serafina's large family are great characters; the descriptions of Polermo, Sicily beautiful. I had a bit of trouble with the writing style. The author uses a synt...more
Nikki Bywater
This is a murder mystery set in Sicily in 1866.

Serafina is a forty something widow, who works as a midwife. Rosa is her childhood friend who works running the local brothel. When three of Rosa’s prostitutes are murdered, the police chief does not put the time or effort into solving the murders. Serafina decides to step in as sleuth and help her friend solve the crimes.

I did enjoy reading about the characters in this book. It did take me a little time to get into the book, but the story soon had...more
This is a great mystery, I hope there will be many more Serafina Florio mysteries to follow. The personalities of the characters really shine through. I especially loved the details about sewing and cooking in 19th century Sicily - I love both activities and the history imparted in these descriptions is fascinating.

As for the story line, there are a few details that are left to the reader's interpretation toward the end - I really liked that, I think it's more true to life. Susan gives you enoug...more
John Darling
I have to admit that when I first started reading this book, I was enthralled by it. The writing is excellent and the pace was good. But as the book went on and on and on, I became frustrated with it because I had figured out whodunit--or so I thought. Maybe there was too much. Silence. In it to suit me, but it did seem to drag on a bit.

As for whodunit, I was wrong in my assumption and totally disappointed by the "real" killer. There was a great opportunity here for some high drama but the autho...more
This book was a fantastic read. If mystery (and just a generally exceptional storyline) is your thing, I would definitely recommend this book. Susan Russo Anderson has you rushing to findout the ending. I can't wait to read the rest of the series, it was absolutely hard to put down.
I would say more, but I don't wanna give out any spoilers, so you'll have to check it out for yourself ;)

PS; Due to FTC guidelines I have to tell you guys about how I receives this book in the First Reads Giveaway
Sheila Coldiron
In 1866 three prostitutes are knifed to death in Sicily Italy. The police are not helpful so the Madam asks her best friend, a widow, to find the killer. Added to that it is six years after the unification and Sicily is in chaos. Bandits rule the hills, waves of cholera kill thousands, and the mafia is for the first time exerting is reign of terror. This book is very well written and in addition, gives a good insight into Italy and Sicily in the 1800s.
Harish Puvvula
Wonderful mystery. However, most unsettling part is the slew of characters in the novel. Well it is slightly confusion, but nothing to complain about. Serefina, the protagonist, mid-wife turned detective captures the imagination. Wish the novel could be stripped off some fillers, to make the narration taunt
Karen Thacker
Intriguing. The storyline development kept me attempting to figure out the identity of the murderer. Knowledgeable insight into Sicily during the late 1800's. Recommended read from Goodreads First Reads. I am very glad that I won this book from Goodreads and hope to read more of Ms. Anderson's novels.
Irene Fischer
I really liked the author's style of writing and the characters. The author was able to realistically portray the time period: the actions, thinking, motivation of the characters.
Michele bookloverforever
19th century italian midwife solves crimes amidst family crisis. her besst friend, a madam, has her prostitutes being murdered by a serial killer. interesting.
Interesting story but a little hard to read because of the broken English.
This book was not my kind of mystery. I found it depressing and slow-moving.
Lou Alice
Witty; light reading
Gill marked it as to-read
Sep 09, 2014
Naomi marked it as to-read
Sep 06, 2014
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Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a grandmother, a widow, a member of Sisters In Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She has taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.

More about Susan Russo Anderson...
Death In Bagheria (Serafina Florio, #3) No More Brothers (Serafina Florio, #2) Too Quiet In Brooklyn (A Fina Fitzgibbons Mystery, #1) Death of a Sad Face Murder On The Rue Cassette (Serafina Florio, #4)

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