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The Monster of Florence (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery #10)

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  260 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Marshal Guarnaccia of the Florence carabinieri is first puzzled and then irritated when he is dragged into a last-ditch attempt to nail the Monster, a vicious serial killer who has ritually slaughtered seven courting couples in the most brutal of circumstances. But he is soon sucked into the horror and squalor of a multi-layered case that has confounded the authorities for ...more
Published September 1st 2005 by Arrow (first published 1996)
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I'm afraid this was a rather disappointing read. I had read Magdalen Nabb's Death of an Englishman two years ago and found it to be a very pleasant read. Nabb is very strong on her descriptions of Italy and her characterizations. My quibble on the first book was that Marshal Guarnaccia spent most of the book in bed with the flu. Having odd dreams brought on by fever. Most of the actual police work was done by The Captain and Carabiniere Bacci working with their British counterparts from Scotland ...more
This review is based on the FirstReads copy I received and devoured less than a week after finding out I'd won a copy. Based on a chilling true crime and the author's extensive research, this book in the Marshal Guarnaccia series was the only detective novel by Magdalen Nabb not previously published in the United States. The case is truly horrific and involved (possibly) a serial killer known only as The Monster whose trail of victims spanned a 20+ year period. The fictionalized account of this ...more
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: guarnaccia
10th in the Marshal Guarnaccia series set in Florence, Italy.[return][return]While most of the plots in Magdalen Nabb s superb series are based on real-life crimes, The Monster of Florence is unusual in that, in a special introductory note, Nabb asserts that while the book is fiction, the story is based on 7 real-life double homicides that took place in The Florence area between 1968 and 1985; the facts pertaining to the cases are true, although nothing else the characters, the investigation is. ...more
Sally Sugarman
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on an actual case, this book uses many of the original documents involved in the investigation. Marshal Guarnaccia of the Florence carabinieri is recruited to be part of the investigative team that is looking into a case of a serial killer. However, most of his work and that of his fellow officer Ferrini is observing the Suspect and listening to him through the bug that is planted in his quarters. The Suspect, who the Marshal recognizes as a liar, keeps denying his guilt. Although the Mars ...more
Dec 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Another great book in Magdalen Nabb’s Marshal Guarnaccia series. I’ve read another book about the Monster of Florence and so at first this book was a little slow moving for me as not much was new...but it quickly picked up as Nabb put her own twist on things. I very much enjoy this series. Guarnaccia is one of those characters you can’t help but love. He often seems like a big bulldog, plodding his way along through a case. Nabb has managed to develop his character to a level in this book that a ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I wasn't sure what to expect when I began this book. I love procedural books and true crime, so I thought this might be of great interest to me. Cold cases are almost always interesting as the characters have a chance to uncover lost leads and build a great story. This book was not as procedural as I would have expected.

This book had some likable qualities. Guarnaccia is a quirky, strange character at times, but a main character that can keep you interested. I liked the way the author displayed
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Source: Free copy from Soho Crime for the purpose of review.

Serial murders committed from the late 60s through the mid 80s has left the Florence, Italy police force unable to solve. Marshal Guarnaccia is asked by his Captain to take over the case. The time period for this story is 1990, it's been five years since a murder was committed. Guarnaccia is at first shocked he's been asked to solve the case, he does not feel adequate for this type of detective work. His Captain explains, "You w
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.
Although this is #10 in the Marshal Guarnaccia series, it is the first one I have read. That being said, I think it stands alone very well. There are some references to past cases the Marshal has worked on, but knowledge of those cases isn't very integral to the story and I picked up on the important aspects of the Marshal's character fairly quickly. I liked the storyline following the main Monster of Florence case, which is a series of
Magdalen Nabb was an English author who spent many years living in Italy. While there she wrote a series of books, the Marshal Guarnaccia series, based on a real marshal she met while living there. All the books in the series, except this one, were published in the United States and were well received. This book, only recently rediscoved, is being published in the United States for the first time. The book is based on a real crime, a series of double homicides that took place between 1968 and 19 ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In compliance with FTC guidelines, I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I didn't care much for this book. It was a difficult story to follow with its unseamly transitions and that it wasn't translated from Italian very well. The characters didn't stand out at all, and Marshall Guarnaccia, the main character, was dull and sortof a bumbly detective. Most of the detective work was done by other people and we spend a lot of the book reading long police reports or being lectur
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
I have wanted to read this book for years but could never find a copy....and then my daughter won an advance copy through First Reads Giveaway! It was well worth the wait! It is evident that Magdalen Nabb meticulously researched the real life crime the book is based upon. Marshal Guarnaccia finds himself pulled from his comfort zone and placed on a team working to solve serial killings spanning two decades. A despicable man is arrested but is he really the Monster of Florence? The Marshal has se ...more
Disclaimer: I received this book through a Goodreads First Read giveaway.

I found this book to be ok. The main character, the Marshal, was likable and 'human'. I enjoyed reading about someone who had quirks and shortcomings, yet was able to doggedly work through a problem. However, the story itself was confusing at times to follow. The suspects in the case (this is about a serial killer - based on real killings that took place in Florence) were numerous and related, which made it difficult to kee
This review is for the audio version, read by David Colacci, which was very well done. That being said, however, I have two issues with the audio version. First, Colacci does an excellent job, but as he is the narrator for Donna Leon's series based in Venice it was not uncommon to for me to be anticipating a Commissario Brunetti response when this was from the Marshal Guarnaccia series. The second issue w/ the audio version is that it was pretty hard to keep all of the characters straight. Becau ...more
Sep 18, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I gave up on this book 2/3rds of the way through. Really disappointed with what I thought could be a series I would enjoy as much as Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti mysteries set in Venice. The Florence setting is well described; I did get a feel for what modern life is like in Italy from the book. But the story was very difficult to follow -- the Florence Marshall Guarnaccia is working on two cases, main one gruesome murders committed by a serial killer 20 years in the past, a minor plot line ...more
THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE. (1996). Magdalen Nabb. ***.
This is my first read of a book by this author. Checking her list of publications I found that she had a significant back list, most featuring Marshal Guarnaccia, a member of the Florence police force. In this episode, he has been assigned to a cold case that seems to have come alive again. A maniac serial killer is again on the loose, killing couples in lovers’ lanes just outside the city of Florence. I found Guarnaccia to be rather a dull cha
I love a good mystery that sparks the imagination and gets the brain working. Unfortunately, I would not call this a good mystery. I found the story itself dull and uninspiring, with a healthy dabbling of confusion at times as the main characters switches from case to case with little to no actual transitions. I loved the descriptions of Italy and everyday Italian life, but the background to me what the most lively part of the book. All of the characters seemed very flat and unimaginative. The s ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book from the Marshal Guarnaccia series. Had I read some of the others first, I think I may have had a better reaction to this particular selection. Based on true cases, this fictional account was presented through the eyes of the heartwarming character, Marshal Guarnaccia. The story unwraps two separate cases, one including chilling, gruesome, and overly graphic crime scene and interrogation reports. I had been prepared for scary thriller, but not for this. The writing style, ...more
Jul 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
The Monster of Florence is the first book that I have read by Nabb, and I found that I really enjoyed the lead character of Marshal Guarnaccia. Guarnaccia is well developed in the book, and I enjoyed seeing how this character handled this case which was complicated because of the circumstances surrounding it. I enjoyed the twists and turns that Guarnaccia faced as he tried to really solve the case rather than following the pact. I also enjoyed the side story with Marco Landini, a young man the d ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, mystery
I received an ARC compliments of SOHO through the Goodreads First Reads program.

Magdalen Nabb constructed a plausible scenario - characters, motivations, wherewith all - to fit the facts of a true unsolved serial killer's murders around Florence from 1968 to 1985.That's only part of it. She uses the murders as the basis for an investigation that is driven by ambition rather than a search for the truth, until Marshal Guarnaccia becomes unsettled over the discrepancies of the case. This makes for
Candy Wood
Aug 03, 2012 added it
Shelves: mysteries
This is the longest book of the Marshal Guarnaccia series so far. The Marshal’s official duties assign him to an extremely cold case of serial killings (based on actual, documented events), while he becomes unofficially concerned with a possible art forgery. There might be thematic connections between the two cases, but otherwise, the Marshal’s involvement is the only link. Still, it’s fascinating to watch how a detective who is not at all flashy and even considers himself to be deficient in bra ...more
Fiona Van
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
I rerally enjoyed this book, it is a who-done-it, but one that focuses on personality rather than police procedured. Guarnaccia has been loaned by his boss to another region, where a special team is being developed to build a case against a suspect whom it it thought has committed a series of murders of courting couples. Isolated and feeling out of his depth, Guarnaccia comes to believe that the ambitious prosecutor is driving the team to bring a successful prosecution against a man who, while h ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book, and especially liked the protagonist - who is very human, humble, yet perceptive. I got bogged down a bit in the sections when the main character is working his way through endless case histories as he tries to sort out the truth behind the mystery. Of course, I think that the author is also letting us know just how he was feeling, since he makes it very clear that his least favorite thing is reading through endless case histories!

The resolution has a sense of uncertain
Jul 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a First Reads giveaway copy.
The main plot is based on actual murders that took place in Florence several decades ago. As the murders were not solved at the time the novel was written (and still unsolved?), it was necessary that Nabb leave her own solution somewhat ambiguous although she seemed to be tending towards a couple of suspects.
The secondary plotline concerning possible art forgery was unrelated to the main body of the book and seemed unnecessary. Considering its tone, it may hav
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I won a copy of this book through the First Reads giveaway.
I thought this book was ok at the most. I really wanted to get into the story, but I couldn't. The characters are likable, but at times the details of the story became confusing and I wasn't always willing to reread paragraphs two or three times to try and figure out what was going on. There are two cases going on in the book but they don't necessarily seem to relate to each other, I may have missed the connection between them in the en
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book free from Goodread's First Reads.

When I discovered this was the 10th book in a series I was concerned I would be lost. I am happy to say that was not the case. There were references to previous cases but nothing that required previous knowledge by the reader. This story is based on a true serial killer in Italy and proved to be an enjoyable read. Marshall Guarnaccia is assigned to a unit investigating 7 double homicides around Florence, Italy. Magdalena Nabb paints a gruesom
David V.
Received as an ARC from my employer Barnes & Noble. Started it on 10-17-13. Finished on 10-23-13. Based on a true story. Difficult story to follow. Sometimes felt like the conversations my wife has with me in which she starts in the middle of a paragraph; and I'm confused about who and what she's talking about. There's a non-fiction book with the same title by Preston Child and Mario Spezi which tells a better story about this serial killer. It also shows what a screwy legal system exists in ...more
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Marshal is drawn into an old and grisly serial killer case and must negotiate the investigation and, even more dangerously, the politics surrounding it and an ambitious prosecutor. His work is methodical and personal and advances with deliberate speed, though one could wish he had just a little bit more confidence in himself. If the case is unsavory, the Marshal, with his love of a coffee and a simple meal, his ability to draw people out with his ponderous silence, and his lack of desire for ...more
I can honestly say I don't like the writing style and the interest comes in small pockets that lie few and far between.
Dear M's lovely daughter is studying art in Florence so this book seemed to beckon to me - I like to read mysteries about places that seem to be important at a time.

Opening lines : It was so dark in the cathedral square on that November Saturday evening that it seemed that it should certainly be cold. Instead of which, as the great bell in Giotto's marble tower struck s
Jul 23, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-on-the-shelf
I received this as a First Reads copy. I was excited because I had read a nonfiction about the case a few years ago, but the book just couldn't hold my attention. The section in the middle as the primary investigator goes back over the old records was interesting, but I could not get interested in the main character, or the back story of the forged art. So this one gets relegated back to the TBR pile, maybe I'll pick it back up again.
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
Finally being published in the US the Monster Of Florence reads as a true mystery. Though a fictional account of a true story, it reads as real as it gets. No neat packages here but a 20+ year old stretch of serial killings which the Marshal is assigned to. Couple that with a hectic home life and twins as well as provenance of an ancient painting, mixed all together with the smells, tastes and back streets of Florence and you have a great mystery. Well worth the read.
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Death of an Englishman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #1)
  • Death of a Dutchman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #2)
  • Death in Springtime (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #3)
  • Death in Autumn (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #4)
  • The Marshal and the Murderer (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #5)
  • The Marshal and the Madwoman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #6)
  • The Marshal's Own Case (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #7)
  • The Marshal Makes His Report (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #8)
  • The Marshal at the Villa Torrini (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #9)
  • Property of Blood (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery #11)