The Monster of Florence
The Marshal at the Villa Torrini pbk out Jan 1997
The Marshal's Own Case
The Marshal Makes His Report
About the Author
The Monster of Florence
After all the years that Marshal Guarnaccia has commanded the Carabinieri Station housed in the Pitti Palace, great paintings are a familiar part of his life in Florence Still, he doesnt consciously know anything about art and if he joins battle with a successful forger, it is only as a favour to an old friend and because the man fascinates him.
Then he is dragged into a last-ditch attempt to nail the serial killer who has ritually slaughtered seven courting couples over the last ten years, only to find himself faced with a forgery in his own line of business and the problems are distressingly familiar. Nobody wants to know the truth about a fake: not the buyer, not the seller, not the fooled expert or the general public. If a false case is made against the wrong man, who is going to admit it? The Marshal has the courage to speak out but no one wants to listen. It is more comfortable for everyone, event he wrongly accused man, if the blood-soaked vineyards keep their secret of what really happened on those Saturday nights of the new moon
Magdalen Nabb moved to Florence from her native Lancashire twenty years ago and pursues a dual career as a crime writer and childrens author.
"She is magnificent on the medieval pageantry and sinister facades of her adopted Florence." Sunday Times
"Good plot, well-concealed clues and the whole put together with wit and elegance." Daily Mail
Marshal at the Villa Torrini
Up at the Villa Torrini, a well-known writer lies dead without a mark on her body. Down in the city of Florence, Marshal Guarnaccia struggles in vain with a tough new legal system and the hunger pangs of a strict diet.
The case calls for clear thinking, but the Marshal is befuddled by lack of food and humiliated by the sarcasm of the most notorious prosecutor in town. Out of his depth with the literati, but hounding his suspect nonetheless, help comes from a repressed forty-year-old memory of a ragged child in the schoolroom: Vittorio, son of the village prostitute, whose long-ago suffereings finally provide the Marshal with a solution to the sinister mystery at the heart of the Villa Torrini.
"The Marshal is an enduring creation in a lovingly realised setting" Observer
The Marshal's Own Case
Everybody hated Lulu alive, and Lulu dead was even less of an attractive proposition. Nobody wanted this nauseating and impossible case, especially not Marshal Guarnaccia, wrenched from his peaceful Station within the Pitti Palace and forced to move in an alien, shadowy Florence of which he knew little and understood nothing. There had been other cases of the sort. The files were all marked `Unsolved'. Nobody expected a solution this time, either, and everyone concerned was both amazed and impressed when an arrest was made after only a few days. Everyone except the Marshal. Despite all the evidence, he couldn't see the hot-tempered, unbalanced Peppina planning and perpetrating such a cold-blooded and complicated murder: the sleeping draught, the deadly blows, the long wait-especially the long, inexplicable wait - and then what had been done to the body ...
But if Peppina's version was true, where was the body during that long wait, and where was the witness with no real name? The Marshal had to battle with his own prejudices, with the Public Prosecutor and with the problems coming to a head within his own family before he found what he was looking for. `Everybody hated Lulu' - until the Marshal found somebody who didn't.
Praise for The Marshal and the Madwoman
`This book has the same qualities of concentration and simplicity which distinguish the best of Simenon's' Simon Brett, Books
'Examines the human components of a murder case on a level of perception that surpasses mere mastery of form.' Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
`Guarnaccia and the denizens of his adopted city are perfectly evoked in this sensitive and beautifully written novel. Right up to the bitter-sweet finale, Ms Nabb doesn't put a foot wrong.' Bloodhound
'This superb novel rises far above the staples of the genre.' US Publishers Weekly
`Another subtly textured exemplar of how Ms Nabb reaps rich dividends from her Marshal's attention to "other people's little problems".' John Coleman, Sunday Times
Marshal Makes His Report
Homicide, Suicide or Accident? When a member of one of the oldest noble families in Florence suffers a sudden death, the only acceptable choice is Accident. But Marshal Guarnaccia of the Carabinieri doesnt believe what happened at the Palazzo Ulderighi was an accident, although hell be risking his career if he says so.
The trouble is that the Marshal has a way of making his presence felt, and it isnt long before the accident is acknowledged as suicide. Still the Marshal isnt satisfied, and while he claims he isnt accusing the Marchesa of killing her husband, exactly what does he believe?
Threatened, afraid and baffled, the Marshal paces the courtyard inside the palazzo, always accompanied by the music of flute or piano and haunted by the conviction that something sinister has happened there. When at last the music stops the Marshal is proved right, and after nine hundred years of survival by bloodshed the Palazzo Ulderighi yields up its last victim.
"Magdalen Nabbs books are set in Florence so vividly brought to life that I long to go back there after reading each one." Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph
`He shares with Maigret a rounded solidness; strong ' reactions to weather, a sense of small community relationships and a readiness to relieve the plod of routine by intuitive flashes.' John Coleman, Sunday Times
MARSHAL GUARNACCIA of the Carabinieri, Palazzo Pitti Station, Florence
"Dogged, sane and lovable" William Weaver, Financial Times
A policeman who would be a credit to any country's police force.' Police
Guarnaccia, most Maigret-like of contemporary policemen, who proceeds by feeling and intuition, rather than logic and deduction.' T J. Binyon, The Times Literary Supplement
`The Marshal himself is a solid, believable character, buttressed by an equally believable marriage.' Simon Brett, Books
`A detective of cogent powers and an increasing following.' Stephen Walsh, Oxford Times
'The Marshal is no more your ordinary detective than Inspector Maigret, to whom he bears more than a glancing resemblance.' Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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 nine novels featuring Marshal Guarnaccia of the Carabinieri, all set in Florence, which she describes as "a very secret city. Walk down any residential street and you have no idea what is going on behind those blank walls. It's a problem the Marshal comes up against all the time."
Magdalen Nabb also writes the immensely successful Josie Smith books, set in her native Lancashire, which form the basis of the Granada children's TV series, Josie Smith, scripted by the author. Her first book, Josie Smith, was runner-up for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award in 1989 , and in 1991 Josie Smith and Eileen was winner of the prestigious Smarties Book Prize for the 6-8 age group.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (series: in all books except The Prosecutor)