Joyce Lagow's Reviews > Death of an Englishman
Death of an Englishman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #1)
by Magdalen Nabb
by Magdalen Nabb
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 first, Guarnaccia, the Marshal of the carabinieri station at the Pitti Palace in Florence, is down with a severe case of � flu and does not make a real appearance in the book until nearly two-thirds of the way into the story; occasional cameo appearances of him trying to cope with his illness while struggling to understand what is happening on the murder of an Englishman are limited to a few lines.[return][return]Instead, the major players are his immediate superior, � the Captain� , whom we will meet in later books as Captain Maestrangelo, and two inspectors from Scotland Yard who are in Florence to represent the interests of the dead Englishman� s well-connected family. Some other important characters: Carabineire Bacci, first on the murder scene and whose English language abilities earn him an important translator� s role, and a brash little girl, fond of pistols, who turns out to be an important witness.[return][return]Although late on the scene, it is Guarnaccia the Sicilian, ponderous, slow, but who understands and empathizes with the � ordinary people � of his Quarter and their � little problems� , who solves the case. [return][return]Though not especially her best book, even this first installment contains what will become the hallmarks of the series: understated writing, excellent characterizations, realistic dialogue, an unusually empathetic protagonist, and Florence itself, alive and well, as an integral part of the story. The denouement is a surprise, and the ending, as Guarnaccia is on his way home by train to visit his family over the Christmas holidays, is quietly satisfying.[return][return]An excellent start to the series. Highly recommended.
Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Death of an Englishman.sign in »