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A Murder in Tuscany

(Sandro Cellini #2)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Sandro Cellini, P. I., Florence's answer to Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti, returns in this atmospheric mystery set in a forbidding castle.

As Sandro Cellini comes to grips with the tough realities of life as a private detective, touting for business among old contacts and following errant teenagers, an old case comes back to haunt him.

Once the subject of a routine background
ebook, 336 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Minotaur Books (first published May 1st 2010)
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3.55  · 
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 ·  358 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Sonya L Moore
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick summary from Amazon: "Loni Meadows is the beautiful, unstable director of an arts foundation headquartered in a crumbling castle outside Florence. When Meadows dies under peculiar circumstances, it becomes clear that almost everyone at Castello Orfeo would have been pleased to see her dead. Years ago, as a low-level member of the Florence police force, Sandro Cellini, now working sporadically as a private eye, ran a routine background check on Meadows, and he hopes that the tidbits he lear ...more
May 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is also titled for the second edition A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE and is the second in a series featuring Sandro Cellini, a former member of the Florence police, now a private investigator. A very good read, as was Ms. Kent's first of the series, THE DROWNING RIVER. From Amazon: Loni Meadows is the beautiful, unstable director of an arts foundation headquartered in a crumbling castle outside Florence. When Meadows dies under peculiar circumstances, it becomes clear that almost everyone at ...more
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Gave up on this one and didn't bother finishing it. Initially liked it, but got bogged down. It seemed to move far too slowly for my taste and eventually decided I simply didn't care enough to keep going. Pity - she writes well, good dialogue and well developed characters, but after wading through lots of words the lack of story momentum became irritating. Almost split in two, between Cellini and Cate. She's interesting, he much less so.
Gloria Mccracken
Feb 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a detective novel, with the emphasis on novel. Yes, there is a mystery -- and a pretty good one, too--but the real appeal of the book is the novelistic development of some complex characters. There's a pretty good-sized cast and nearly all of them seem quite well-rounded with complicated motivations for doing what they do. And it doesn't hurt that it's set in Italy, too. I liked this book a lot and wouldn't mind reading some more by this author.
Italian noir. Very atmospheric. Love this series, love our ex-detective, but this one was spoiled for me by the very poor copy-editing of the kindle edition. Lots of typos relating to where sentences ended. And the new one. Began. Weird and distracting, and there were enough of them to ruin the entire middle. Of the book.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These books are slow burners and I like that.

Sandro Cellini is a lovely, kind and thoughtful man. He doesn't hurry anything and he cares more than he should.

I enjoy the slow progression and the unhurried way in which he works.

I like the supporting characters. I especially like Luisa who I feel is a kindred spirit. Guili described Luisa as quick to anger - angry at herself, even if others don't realise that - and that describes me.

Sandro reminds me of mu husband a bit. Gentle and decent but no fo
Barbara Nutting
Feb 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Sandro Cellini is not Guido Brunetti nor is Christobel Kent in the same category as Donna Leon!! Whoever made the comparison was way off base. Ms Leon has outstanding characters and brings Venice to the pages of every book. Tuscany played no part in this book that moved at a snails pace. It was so boring that at the halfway point I skimmed to the end. Good riddance.

As if the writing and the plot weren’t bad enough, the author is addicted to using colons and semi-colons, like it was a grammar tes
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Sandro takes on two cases- One: parents want him to follow their teenage daughter To see where she goes as they believe she is mixing with the wrong crowd; and Two: investigate the death of a criminal attorney’s wife at a remote castle in the mountains. The two cases are connected in that the teenage girl is hanging out with the son whose parents own the castle. Sandro’s methods of discovering the truth may appear slow, but he is patient and learns the truth despite opposition from outside sourc ...more
Sylvia Dugan
I have mixed feelings about this book, the first I've read by the author. It started like two separate stories in two different locations. I knew that they would eventually meet up, but I am not a fan of this technique which I've encountered in several books lately. I continued reading and eventually was involved in the mystery death and how the ex-policeman/private detective resolved the story.
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Italian retired police officer, Sandro Chillini, now a private investigator, is hired to investigate a murder of Loni Meadows. She was the director of an artist's retreat that was housed in an ancient castle in Tuscany. Unusual characters keep this a page turner. You will want to visit the Castle Orfeo to immerse yourself in this murder.
Karen Schnakenberg
Jul 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this while in Florence and enjoyed being able to trace the locations. I also thought the main character was quite strong. As a police procedural, however, I found it to be somewhat lacking. If I were to read another book by this author, it likely would be because of setting
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it

Even better than book 1. Really enjoyed it and am keen to start the 3rd book. Good characters and interesting plot.
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed though confused by ending, had to reread it several times.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ok-audio
This is the second book of the series. I was attracted to the stories because I read somewhere that this character/series was Florence's answer to Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti.

I love Donna Leon's books. I love the characters. I'm finding that I don't particularly like Sandro Cellini. He's certainly not the man that Brunetti is. The tone of the books is different from Leon's, more brooding I guess and I'm okay with that. I do like the stories, but Cellini is the problem. To me, he seems insecure a
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
I wanted to love "A Murder in Tuscany". It has all the elements I enjoy in a good mystery--the Tuscany setting for starters, plus a solid and likable PI, interesting support characters, and a dreary castle full of weirdos.

Christobel Kent's ability to define a novel by its sense of place is one of her writing's best features. Her skills are particularly fine at the end of this novel. However, some of the technical things she did this time around drove me to distraction. Totally my problem. I own
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
(3.5 stars) This is the second book in the Sandro Cellini series. Sandro is called in when a contentious director of an artist retreat set in a remote manor is found dead in a car wreck. He had previously done some background check work for the foundation, and leaves his home and current surveillance job to his sometime assistant. He is having some relationship challenges with his wife during her recovery from breast cancer and has some worries about her relationship with her boss. He is also sh ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: murder-mystery
Competently written, with a setting I greatly enjoyed, I nonetheless didn't love this tale of an American woman, director of an artists' retreat in Florence, who skids off an icy road and dies in circumstances that look suspicious. The dual-point-of-view narrative, shared by detective Sandro Cellini, and Cate, an employee of the institute, seemed contrived to me. Also, I'm getting tired of the device at the conclusion of a murder mystery where the author whiplashes us in the space of one or two ...more
Karen Lowe
Mar 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed 'A fine and private place' - a beautifully crafted murder mystery, with characters I could believe in. Every time I was sure 'whodunnit', I was wrong. It kept me enthralled to the end. And the setting, in wintery Italy, was superbly drawn. I look forward to reading more about Sandro Cellini. My only slight gripe was that the proofreading could have been better - throughout the kindle version, there are formatting errors and stray punctuation, which do a disservice to this ot ...more
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Being all about characters I enjoyed the dual protagonists, Sandro Cellini, the private investigator and Caterina Giottone/Cate, an amateur sleuth who lives in the castle. The setting was very well drawn, too. I would get a chill up my spine reading about the eerie, cold castle, and the wintery blustery days. This book is a mystery: was there a murder committed and if so, by whom? But those questions seemed really to be a sideline to finding out more about each character and how ...more
Andy Plonka
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This one is in the tradition of locked room mysteries with a lomited number of suspects each with a plausible motive to have done the deed. It is ideal for the detail person. Each motive is spelled out with the appropriate opportunity. It takes a while to get the characters straight in one's mind so it is best read when you have a few hours at a time to devote to it(unless, of course, your powers of concentration and memory are better than mine) An enjoyable read though and a pleasant break from ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Sandro Cellini, former Florentine police officer turned private investigator is hired by a well known human rights attorney to investigate the death of his wife who was killed in an auto accident on an icy mountain road. She was the director of an American-Italian artists' retreat in a castle in the hills outside Florence. It's a sort of locked room mystery with a cast of interesting characters (the international artists in residence and the locals who take care of them) and a great setting. Wel ...more
Jeff Clay
Jan 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
The 2nd book in Kent's Sandro Cellini series is a bit more fleshed out than the first book, which delivers a more satisfying experience. The characters are complex, the setting and atmosphere are well-described, and the plotting is paced at a thoughtful and measured stride. As with most (all?) good books, it's the journey not the destination that counts. The 'whodunnit' nature of a mystery is much less interesting than 'how did I get here.' Looking forward to Kent's 3rd installment in the near f ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, italy
Better than 3 stars, not quite 4. The second in the series followed the formula set up in the first: beautiful girl naively gathering information, investigator carefully accumulating details, cold winter weather in Florence. Skillfully accomplished in most respects but I would not recommend reading the two in the series back to back as I did. And the grammar police have plenty to grumble about. I'd still recommend it to fans of crime fiction.
Kimberly Campbell
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were rich in personality and held my interest. I loved the secondary characters such as Giuli and Cate. I was left with a deep impression of atmosphere of this area of Tuscany and could feel the palpable tension as I read. Couldn't put this book down and devoured it in two days.
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
My rating would be a 3.5 - Sandro Cellini is having a hard time getting started as a private investigator. Cases are slow in coming his way. Now he finds himself involved with a case at a castle, an artistic retreat. Giuli has a bigger role in this novel and Luisa is coming to terms with surviving her bout with cancer.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Loni, director of an Italian artist's retreat, dies in an accident. Or did she? Cate, the outsider hired for her English skills, notices things and wonders. The dead woman's powerful husband hires humble but dogged detective Sandro Cellini to look into it while Sandro himself wonders if his marriage of 30 years is disintegrating. Miss Marple or detective Columbo fans will like this.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it did not like it
I simply could not get into this book. I am incredibly disappointed since my book club read this and for the first time a mystery was chosen and I am a huge mystery fan. Unfortunately, the writing style just didn't do it for me.
Jun 23, 2014 added it
A really good read with this time more about other chractes than the first one we read. Fun to rad about places where you know the street and the surrounding area. The characters are developing nicely. Can't wait for the next one.

David Marshall
Mar 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a superior investigation into what may be an accidental death. If it's not an accident, there's a real mystery as to how it could be organised.
Jun 01, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read this for my mystery book club, it took a while for me to get into it. The characters all seemed depressed or conflicted. I was hoping for some descriptions of warm and sunny Italian scenery. Oh well.
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Christobel Kent was born in London in 1962 and now lives in Cambridge with her husband and four children; in between she lived in Florence. She worked in publishing for several years, most recently as Publicity Director at Andre Deutsch. Her debut novel A Party in San Niccolo, was published in 2003.

* Sandro Cellini

Other books in the series

Sandro Cellini (5 books)
  • The Drowning River (Sandro Cellini, #1)
  • The Dead Season (Sandro Cellini, #3)
  • A Darkness Descending (Sandro Cellini, #4)
  • The Killing Room (Sandro Cellini, #5)