Vita Nuova (Marshal Guarnaccia Series #14)

Vita Nuova (Marshal Guarnaccia Series #14)

by Magdalen Nabb


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“A final reminder of why [Nabb] is irreplaceable among English speaking novelists who write mysteries with Italian locales. Like the 13 previous novels in this series set in Florence and featuring Marshal Guarnaccia, Vita Nuova reflects the sensibility of someone who sees much, speaks softly and takes pity on strangers.” The New York Times Book Review

Marshal Guarnaccia’s sense of malaise sets in as Florence closes for the summer holiday. But outside the quiet city, a wealthy young woman is shot to death in her parents’ villa. A single mother pursuing her doctorate seems an unlikely target for slaughter, but perhaps the marshal can parse the truth from her unusual family.

The fourteenth and final Florentine mystery featuring Marshal Guarnaccia

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780099519935
Publisher: Arrow Books, Limited
Publication date: 08/28/2009
Series: Marshal Guarnaccia Series , #14

About the Author

Magdalen Nabb was born in Lancashire and trained as a potter. In 1975, she left her old life behind and moved with her son to Florence, where she knew no one and even though she didn't speak any Italian, but where she fell in love with the local setting. Her Marshal Guarnaccia series, which has been translated into ten languages, was inspired by a real local marshal she befriended in the tiny pottery town of Montelupo Fiorentino. Nabb wrote children's fiction and crime novels until her death in 2007. Vita Nuova was her last novel.

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Vita Nuova (Marshal Guarnaccia Series #14) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Just above Florence in her bedroom someone shoots and kills twenty-five years Daniela Paoletti. The victim is connected as the oldest daughter of an affluent Florentine nightclub owner. Marshal Guarnaccia puts aside his personal concern of life after the military to investigate the shooting homicide of the single mom PH.D candidate.------------- Guarnaccia quickly realizes there is no apparent motive for someone to shoot the woman six times in her tower bedroom and not target anyone else, but also concludes that Daniela¿s family has issues. Her father remains in the hospital recovering from a stroke and his wife appears in a state of perpetual intoxication. However, most unsettling to Marshal is talk of female trafficking from Eastern Europe into Italy.----------------- This is a strong Italian police procedural that plays out on two levels. First there is the homicide investigation that leads the hero to an even bigger case haunting the world the abduction and sale of females into sexual slavery. Additionally a second subplot has Guarnaccia concerned with personal difficult decisions as he ponders if life is passing him by starting with his deep thinking about early retirement. The late Magdalen Nabb affirms why she has been consistently one of the best mystery writers of the past decade.------------- Harriet Klausner
Joycepa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
#14 in the Marshal Guarnaccia series.This is the last and, in my opinion, among the best of in the series; Nabb died in 2007 shortly after writing this book. I had not read any of the series for quite some time; as preparation, I reread all but one of the previous books (I do not have #9, The Marshal at the Villa Torrini). I was impressed once more by the uniform excellence of the series: the understated writing, the evocation of Florence, the intriguing plots.But uniquely flavoring the series are the characters: the emergence of Guarnaccia himself as a unique protagonist in the genre. Guarnaccia, a Sicilian among the blunt Tuscans of Florence, is tall, overweight, seemingly slow, and pretty much inarticulate. Yet beneath an exterior of apparent mental dullness and lethargy, there lurks an inquisitive intellect, a nearly photographic memory for details, and an ability to put together a jumble of seemingly disparate images and words, details, to make eventually a coherent whole. He considers himself stupid, but except for the more foolish around him, no one else does. His superior, Captain Maestrangelo, is another well-drawn character who respects Guarnaccia; in this book, the two men finally break through the barriers of personality and formality that have characterized them in previous novels. It is Guarnaccia¿s compassion, his understanding of the inhabitants of his Quarter and their ¿little problems¿, that allows him to intuitively penetrate to the heart of issues. His inarticulate love for his family colors his outlook and the way he deals with these very ¿ordinary people¿.Other notable characters are Teresa, Guarnaccia¿s sharp-tongued but understanding wife; his second in command, Brigadier Lorenzini; his two sons, Totó and Giovanni; the shopkeepers and artisans of the Quarter. All have grown in complexity and interest during the series, culminating in this final novel.The plot of Vita Nuova is concerned with the murder of a single mother, daughter of a well-connected family who have just recently purchased a luxurious villa outside of Florence. The murder is puzzling; there are no witnesses and seemingly no lead into the case. In addition, the public prosecutor on the case with whom Guarnaccia has worked, unhappily, in the past¿one who publicly disparaged Guarnaccia¿s intelligence and competency¿suddenly is Guarnaccia¿s best friend and admirer. Instinctively following the advice of a newspaper acquaintance and working undercover, Guarnaccia is immersed in the seamier, more violent aspects of Florence, and begins to uncover, little by little in his slow, remorseless, bulldog way, the secrets that underlie the case.With this plot as context, Nabb skillfully promotes the plot. One of her hallmarks¿subtlety¿is at its finest in this book. Despite awkwardness, clumsiness, there is nothing blunt or obvious about Guarnaccia, and Nabb uses subtlety to bring out both his character and that of those around him.This is an excellent book, one in which Nabb, as had been the case in the last three or four, expanded the complexity of her vision of Guarnaccia and the Florence in which he lives. It is an unexpected page-turner; because she is so understated in her writing and Guarnaccia himself is such an unassuming character, her books never seem the type, and yet always you are drawn more and more into the plot until you can¿t put it down until the end. When I closed the book, it was with a sense of deep regret and sadness that this was the end, not just of this book, but of the series itself. I will miss the Marshal a great deal.Highly recommended.
SignoraEdie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Her last mystery before her death, this one didn't hold me. the writing seemed more disjointed and the internal dialogue in the main character's head seemed very convoluted. I prefer her earlier work. Setting is Florence. This plot deals with a prostitution ring (illegal aliens and children) that is protected by higher-ups in the Italian bureaucracy.