This gloriously atmospheric, deeply Italian sequel to Christobel Kent's previous Florence mystery, The Drowning River, nods at three great elements of mystery fiction: The femme fatale, the locked room, and the past that doesn’t die. The femme in this case is Loni Meadows, the beautiful, unstable director of an arts foundation headquartered in a crumbling castle on a hill outside of Florence. That castle is in fact the locked room; when Meadows dies under peculiar circumstances, it becomes clear that almost everyone at Castello Orfeo would have been pleased to see her dead. And the past belongs to Sandro Cellini. Years ago, as a low-level member of the Florence police force, he ran a routine background check on Meadows. Now resigned from the force in disgrace, working (sporadically) as a private eye, he’s hoping that the tidbits he learned about Meadows can help him determine who helped her to her death. It’s a tall order, but Cellini is happy to immerse himself in work; with his marriage shredding, he’ll take any distraction he can get.
"Rich atmospherics and fully realized characters combine with a deceptively simple puzzle in this outstanding mystery" --Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Who's likely to like this: Fans of Donna Leon and Michael Dibdin