Marshal Guarnaccia Investigation, No 8
Collins Crime Club
1991/ ISBN 000232332X
Pol Procedural / Florence, Italy / Contemporary
by L J Roberts
First sentence: The Marshal’s memory of the scene that
night remained vivid in every detail.
What really goes on behind the walls of Palazo Ulderighi? We begin
with the Marshal looking down on a body in a courtyard. We are taken
back to a body found in a gun room. The question is whether these
were suicides, accidents or murders.
Without the need of a prologue, Nabb draws us straight into the
story with a scene that is visually compelling, emotionally evocative
and mysteriously intriguing.
The Marshal is a character I so appreciate. He is not physically
handsome, nor is he a senior officer. He is self-depreciating and
cannot go into the sun without sunglasses. He is not verbal, although
sometimes he thinks he is. He is sensitive to the atmosphere around
him and highly observant, even without realizing it. In this book,
Guarnaccia feels he is faced with the conflict of doing what is
right versus doing what is expected in order to keep his position
and ensure the security of his family. I very much appreciated the
explanation of the relationship Guarnaccia has with his Captain,
and that not even the two men fully understand it.
Nabb skillfully points out the subtle demonstrations of class snobbery
and makes fascinating observations Florence as opposed to Venice;
both in the character of the people and their homes.
The story has a strong and very effective plot, but it is the Marshal
who drives the story. That’s not to say he’s alone.
Nabb has provided a fascinating, diverse group of secondary characters
I found very involving.
Ms Nabb has a style which is unique. While her books are police
procedurals, they are really character studies and I find them fascinating.
It is not always easy to understand and follow the path down which
she takes us, but it is so worthwhile in the end.