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Death of an Englishman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery #1)

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  473 ratings  ·  73 reviews
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 nig ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Crime (first published 1981)
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Camera con vista by E.M. ForsterInferno by Dan BrownSe fossi fuoco, arderei Firenze by Vanni SantoniEutanasia di un amore by Giorgio SavianeLa costanza della ragione by Vasco Pratolini
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14th out of 32 books — 5 voters
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52nd out of 71 books — 21 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,019)
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Joyce Lagow
1st in the Marshal Guarnaccia series.[return][return]Magdalen Nabb� s superb Italian police procedural series, set in Florence, has only relatively recently been reissued by SoHo Crime press. For a long time, the books were out of print. Upon re-issue, the series began to be advertised as the Marshal Guarnaccia series, based on the emergence of Guarnaccia, in later books, as a most engaging protagonist. [return][return]In truth, the first books did not especially feature Guarnaccia. In this, the ...more
The book looked interesting, the jacket blurbs that raved about the author were from writers I really like, but I found this not that interesting and hard to follow. I also didn't feel like I got much local color on Florence, and the setting had been one of the things that appealed to me. I doubt I'd read this author again.
Jan C
First in a series. Takes place in Florence. Fairly short. Once I got into it, relatively enjoyable.

Of course there are a few false/questionable trails. You think the case is about one thing and then it appears to be about something totally different.
3.5 out of 5

I thoroughly enjoyed Magdalen Nabb’s Death of an Englishman, which is a traditional murder mystery set in the beautiful city of Florence. I suspect the setting had a lot to do with my enjoyment (and wishful thinking that I was there now rather than here). It’s strange to think of Florence as a small town, since I’ve only seen it from an outsider’s perspective as a tourist, yet you get a sense reading the novel that Florence is in actuality a small community where everyone knows every
The first in the Marshal Guarnaccia series makes a promising start. Set in Florence, the marshal wants nothing more than to head home to Sicily for the Christmas holidays but is laid low with the flu. Desperately trying to recover in order that he may return to his family for the holidays, he is called out to a murder site... an Englishman had been shot in the back, the murder weapon is missing and there are no apparent clues.

It turns out the man is from a well-connected family in England, and
Full review at Booklikes

A lovely little mystery.

After reading this, I have to wonder why this hasn’t been adapted to film or shown on PBS. It’s great. It’s funny that the series is named after the Marshal because he spends most of the time sick in bed.

. . .
Set in Florence in the late 1950's, Death of an Englishman is a pleasant, evocative mystery whose characters are rendered to some extent more deeply and sensitively than stereotypes. Nabb leaves clues if you wish to follow them.
Jesus Flores
An Englishman dies in Florence, and Carabiniere Bacci, an Italian police captain, and with the help of two Scotland Yard agent investigate what starts as a murder and soon evolves into an art traffic thing.
Nice mystery, and I was thinking all the time someone else was the killer, I was like Carabiniere Bacci, not seeing the so obvious detail that the Marshall used to find the real killer

Now as or the setting, we get to see British people in Florence through the eyes of Bacci, and Florence throug
Cathy Cole
At first, I was somewhat stunned when I realized that most of the action in this book would take place while the marshal-- the main character-- is flat on his back in bed. But then I fell under the spell of Magdalen Nabb's Florence. This slim volume contains an entire feast of the streets and neighborhoods of the city, of the Italian way of life, of the keen observation of people's behavior and habits, that I willingly let Guaraccia recuperate while I did my own observing and putting clues toget ...more
Italo Italophiles
Marshal Guarnaccia is modest and unambitious, yet he nevertheless succeeds in resolving very difficult cases throughout this entertaining series. Guarnaccia uses plodding police work, helped by moments of inspiration. He is foremost, however, a policeman who is tempered in all things by his deep compassion.

I've read the first book in this series and The Marshal's Own Case, and I enjoyed both of them very much. At times I wanted to shake the Marshal to snap him out of his reveries, but then when
Kirsty Darbyshire

[My comments are taken from a mailing list discussion and as such contain spoilers!]

[on the setting]

I'm about halfway through and I'm finding that Florence is coming more alive the further I read. I like the way that I don't feel like I'm on a sightseeing tour but that it's the accumulation of small details, like having to do removals and street cleaning in the middle of the night in order to avoid blocking the narrow streets, that are really bringing the scenery to life for me.

I also like th

I believe I got a recommendation for this book from a fellow reader on Goodreads. I was not disappointed - in fact, I was very pleased and have reserved the next book in this series at my library.
I read this book four days after returning from a trip to Florence, so the descriptions and moods of the city depicted in the book were familiar and enjoyable, even though the season was different. Likewise, the descriptions of the people, their culture and behaviors, reinforced my own perceptions.
The c
Nancy Oakes
Rarely do I give a series opener higher than 3.5 points, but this one is well worth the extra ratings point. This first entry was very well written, so much so that I bought a copy of the 2nd installment in the series, which is out of print and so cost some $. It was worth it...generally I've found that series mysteries only get better after the first one.

On to this one:
It's Christmas, and everyone in Florence is rushing off to go somewhere for the holidays, including Marshal Salvatore Guarnacci
Susan Oleksiw
I picked this book up on the spur of the moment and am glad I did. This is the first in the Marshal Guarnaccia series, though the marshal appears very little in it. The author uses a number of police and officials to conduct the investigation and solve the murder of a reclusive Englishman living in Florence in retirement, after a career in the diplomatic service. There is much about the marshal's mode of investigation that I enjoyed, and for that reason alone I'll continue to read the series. I ...more
Bev Hankins
Chosen originally as an "N" author for the A-Z Mystery Author Challenge, Death of an Englishman by Magdalen Nabb will also come in handy for the Crime on a Europass Challenge. Nabb's debut novel features Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia of the Carabinieri. The Marshal is a Sicilian stationed in Florence, Italy and now that it is Christmas-time, he is looking forward to heading South and spending the holidays with his wife and family. However, before he can board the train a nasty bout of flu hits hi ...more
This is the first book in Nabb's detective series about Marshal Guarnaccia and after reading it...i'll be moving on to the next book in the series.

There are two reasons i started reading this book: 1) i'm always ready for a new detective series, and 2) most of this series takes place in Florence, Italy...where i was fortunate to be able to spend two weeks this past autumn. Wherever the storyline took the characters i was able to picture exactly what it looked like. I fell in love with Florence a
DEATH OF AN ENGLISHMAN (Trad. Mystery/Pol. Proc-Marshal Guarnaccia-Italy-Cont) – G+
Nabb, Magdalen – 1st in series
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1981, US Hardcover – ISBN: 0684177579

First Sentence: The small office was in darkness, except where the red night lamp stood by the telephone on the desk, and the white kid gloves lying on top of a sheaf of papers within the patch of light were flushed pink.

Marshal Guiarnaccia is a Carabiniere stationed in Florence. He wants to get home for Christmas with his
#1 Marshal Guarnaccia mystery, featuring this Carabinieri stationed in Florence, Italy. It's Christmas Eve, the Marshal has a terrible case of flu, and he's planning to head south to visit family for the holidays, but a murdered Englishman who had retired to live there in Italy takes precedence.

A somewhat pudgy man with an eye condition that makes them water profusely in any sort of sunlight, the Marshal actually sleeps through much of the beginning stages of the investigation, so wracked with
I am not very good at guessing who the murderer is when I read mystery novels. I got tricked by a Patricia Cornwell novel earlier this year, and Dorothy Sayers' excellent novels always baffled me - that's part of the fun. But in this novel, I guessed the murderer. The depictions of Florence are delightful; the characters are nice enough; but the novel itself was difficult to keep track of and the plot was poorly constructed.
Not sure how to review this book; too short, more of novella.
Rather a strange cast of characters, hard to get into to start, but setting wonderful - Florence, Italy, which made for some comfort. The mystery and the Italian and British police people were somewhat stereotyped, and perhaps that was what was bothersome for me. Still, it was an ok read overall.
The style of writing came off a bit choppy. While in the middle of one thought it jumps to another. Took a bit for me to adjust to the rhythm. I do believe my favorite character was Mrs. White. Quirky, maybe a bit batty, but she's a hoot!

This wasn't a book I "had" to read... just a bit longer before I could put it down. I was able to walk away, and a while later pick it up and read a bit again and then put it back down. Normally, for me that would mean the book's a snoozer, but not so with this
The first half of this Florence, Italy based mystery is rather slow and uninteresting. As it is a fairly short book, I persevered and was rewarded with a fast paced second half. Billed as "A Marshal Guarnaccio Investigation", the Marshal was pretty much AWOL till the last quarter, but was quite a character. It is hoped he is more predominately featured in the rest of the series.

The title, Death of an Englishman pretty much tells it all, mysterious death, lots of suspects, stolen artwork, red her
Having read all the Donna Leon books I thought I'd try Marshal Guarnaccia books. Like the Leon books, there are several threads going on..perhaps in this book more than some others. I enjoy police procedurals where you are also getting depictions of the other pursuits of the main characters. Ian Rankin also a favorite.
The reason I picked up this book is because I was headed to Florence and wanted to read something set in that city. It was a short little mystery, enjoyed as a light vacation read!
I think I got this mystery because it is set in Florence, Italy. But it had too many really long passages of one or another person talking, in incomplete sentences. Kind of frustrating to me.
Jaksie (jkcosmos) Cosmos
Main character, the actual inspector is sick with flu & totally superfluous as are the descriptive passages of him sweating with fever. How this particular book ever got published is surprising. I purchased it full price as the back cover was written so well, wish I could say the same about the actual book. It's just not engaging, at all. I've spent my Sunday afternoon reading & hoping it would pick up. I'll be sling it later in the week to recoup something. I will not be wasting another ...more
Joan Karter
Loved it. Can't wait for the next one. I'm delighted to find another mystery series taking place in Italy. I know I'm going to grow quite fond of the Marshal.
Enjoyed Death of an Englishman very much. Good interesting characters, the wonderful city of Florence as the setting, and lots of twists and turns in the plot. It's a police procedural but not gory or dark, more in the Hercule Poirot / Maigret style of detection rather than cutting edge forensic science. I believe this book has been out of print, or at least hard to find, for awhile but it seems to be more widely available now. I recommend it for fans of classic detective fiction and for the arm ...more
Mar 17, 2014 Pat rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
Fairly boring. Good setting - Florence.
English man is shot. Scotland Yard sends 2 British police, they work with carabiniere.
I was not familiar with Nabb or this series set in Florence when I received a free copy at a mystery book convention. A little surprised to get the first in the series that was started in the 80's but quickly enjoyed this lovely yet odd book. The writing style was a bit jarring and took some getting used to as characters thoughts and conversations seemed to start and stop and switch from one perspective to another with little warning. The characters were what kept this story strong and it seems ...more
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MAGDALEN NABB was born in Lancashire in 1947 and trained as a potter. In 1975 she abandoned pottery, sold her home and her car, and came to Florence with her son, knowing nobody and speaking no Italian. She has lived there ever since, and pursues a dual career as crime writer and children's author.

She has written fourteen crime novels featuring Marshal Guarnaccia of the carabinieri, all set in Flo
More about Magdalen Nabb...
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