Synopses & Reviews
Every August, Florence shimmers in the summer heat. But this year the heatwave is fiercer than usual, and the city's inhabitants have fled to the cool of the hills and beaches of the surrounding countryside. So it is no surprise that amidst the shrubbery of a normally busy roundabout, a corpse lies unnoticed, bloating in the humid air.
Sandro Cellini will not be joining the crowds of holidaymakers this year. The former policeman turned private detective has a case: a man who seems to have vanished into thin air - leaving his pregnant young wife alone in the city. Meanwhile, bank teller Roxana Delfino is also stuck in the city for the season, with nothing to do but worry for her aging mother and puzzle over the disappearance of one her regular clients.
As all Florence sweats it out, Cellini attempts as best he can to grapple with his case and the complications it throws up. And when the weather finally breaks, it brings with it a shocking revelation . . .
"During a sweltering August in Florence, Sandro Cellini looks for pregnant Anna Niescu's missing banker fiancÃ©, in British author Kent's excellent third novel featuring the Italian PI (after 2011's A Murder in Tuscany). A corpse that surfaces with the same name as Anna's fiancÃ© turns out to be the wrong man. Instead, Cellini discovers, their quarry is unwittingly entangled in schemes that have forced him underground for safety. As the investigation of disappearance and murder circles the city's changing landscape, a trio of strong, idiosyncratic women Cellini's cancer-survivor wife, Luisa; his assistant, Guili Sarto; and quirky bank teller Roxana Delfino help him rediscover lost connections. Kent brings her characters to rich and convincing life amid story lines full of subtlety and surprise. Florence, too, springs vividly from the page, evoked with sharp observation and an admirable absence of clichÃ©. Kent's reputation as a writer of smart, atmospheric mysteries with literary as well as genre appeal should continue to grow. Agent: Nathaniel Jacks, Inkwell Management." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Cellini is a fascinating character, morose yet strong, suited for far more than the surveillance of a teen girl, his current job, but he brings his all to it. Kent delivers an ingenious country-house mystery here, complete with Agatha Christie byplay among the clashing characters and spiked by the acerbic, witty presence of Cellini." Booklist
"I loved this book and hated putting it down. It manages to be both a taut thriller and a beautifully observed story of a young woman's coming-of-age set in a Florence in full flood. Michael Dibdin meets Muriel Spark." Allison Pearson, author of I Don't Know How She Does It
"Kent combines rich atmospherics and fully realized characters with a deceptively simple puzzle in her outstanding mysteries featuring Italian PI Sandro Cellini."-- (Starred Review)
About the Author
Christobel Kent's previous books include The Dead Season, A Darkness Descending, A Party in San Niccolo, Late Season, and A Florentine Revenge. She lives near Cambridge with her family.