Death of a Dutchman
Soho, Dec 2007
In an apartment next door to his own flat in Piazza Santo Spirito, Florentine carabinieri Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia finds his jeweler neighbor dying in what looks like a suicide due to his slashed hands. However, Salvatore listening to the Dutchman’s last words and becomes confused when he whispers “It wasn’t her”. Besides wondering who is her, Salvatore knows there is not slightest evidence of foul play; not even a bruise on the dead goldsmith except for what seems like self induced cuts. Yet his gut tells him a homicide occurred.
The Florence Marshal learns that the autopsy revealed the deceased died from a barbiturate overdose, which along with the slashed hands supports the suicide belief. As his superiors tell him to drop the case, Salvatore refuses although so far he has found no proof to hint at murder except the words of a nonagenarian with no credibility and a blind person.
The second of the Marshal Guarnaccia Italian police procedural (see Death of an Englishman) is a terrific tale as the obstinate Marshal refuses to quit a case that seems to be going nowhere. Readers will feel they accompany the sleuth as he seeks clues in hot touristy Florence. A few twists enhance a fine investigative tale in which it appears the protagonist has no reason to suspect murder except the growl of his stomach insisting a homicide happened next door.