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The Marshal and the Madwoman (Marshal Guarnaccia Investigation


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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 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.


As in the previous entries in Nabb's Florentine series, the mystery here is incidental to the story of people infused with life by the sensitive author. The sixth case assigned to Marshal Guarnacci of the Pitti Palace brings him to a working-class community where a former mental patient, Clementina, lies dead after a clumsy attempt to fake her suicide. A poor woman, helped by neighbors, Clementina had nothing worth killing for, and the marshal's questions yield few clues. Although the cold, domineering prosecutor chivvies the marshal as a stupid plodder, Guarnacci traces links to the victim patiently, simultaneously giving attention to everyone who brings their problems to him. Eventually, a conversation with an elderly survivor of the ruinous flood in Florence tells the marshal what he needs to know in order to convict a low type for several felonies. This superb novel rises far above the staples of the genre. (Dec.)

Praise for Magdalen Nabb

--The New York Times Book Review

"Every word should be savored."
--Washington Post Book World

"The best mystery news in ages is that Soho is restoring to the canon Magdalen Nabb and her tremendous creation, Marshal Guarnaccia of the Italian Police in Florence."
--Chicago Tribune

"Nabb continues to extend conventions of the police procedural to suit her own intriguing vision and purpose."
--Philadelphia Inquirer

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