The Dead Season: A Sandro Cellini Mystery by Christobel Kent
|The Dead Season: A Sandro Cellini Mystery by Christobel Kent|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A neatly-plotted with story with some convincing characters and a perfect evocation of Florence in August. Read this and you won't NEED to go to the beach...|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: May 2012|
It's August and Florence feels hotter than it usually does in August - if that's possible. Businesses are shut up as anyone who can migrates to the coast, but Sandro Cellini isn't one of them. He used to be a policeman but he's now a private investigator but even this business is running very slowly. All he has to work on is the case of a young and very pregnant woman whose fiancé is missing. The manager of the local Bank won't be holidaying either - his body is discovered in the shrubbery on a normally busy roundabout - and it looks as though it's been there for a few days. Then there's a coincidence: it seems that the missing fiancé and the dead Bank manager both had the same name.
One of the tellers at the Bank is stuck in the city, too. Business is quiet but Roxana is worried about the disappearance of a regular customer - well, she is when she isn't worrying about the state of mind of her elderly mother. Then it all gets rather complicated.
A Fine and Private Place was my introduction to Sandro Cellini and I'm beginning to sense a pattern. Both stories have a very steady start - although on this occasion it served to point up - to exaggerate that which is beyond exaggeration - the heat and sultry atmosphere of Florence in August. The other factor is the presence of a young woman (in addition to his assistant, Giuli) who assists Cellini in his investigations. We've not met the woman in an earlier book and there's no sense that we're ever going to encounter her again. It's not a problem but it is something you notice, particularly because Christobel Kent is more accomplished with her female characters than the males. Cellini's wife, Luisa, is all but the star of the show and his assistant, Giuli, ex druggy, ex hooker, comes off the page, er, fully clothed.
The plot is good. I lost count of the number of occasions on which I'd worked out what was going to happen and then had to revise my ideas within a few pages. I had an inkling of who would prove to be the villain of the piece - mainly because I'd had just about everyone chalked in at some point, so it was relatively easy to feel that I'd been right. The test of a good plot is that when you get to the end you're surprised that you didn't get to the answer sooner because everything hangs together so well now that you know what to look for. The Dead Season passes with flying colours.
I enjoyed A Fine and Private Place but Kent does seem to be more at home in the city and this book is a step up in quality for me - and Sandro Cellini has joined the ranks of those detectives whom I follow. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
It's a different setting and a different climate but if The Dead Season appeals then we think that you might also enjoy Cold Comfort by Quentin Bates.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dead Season: A Sandro Cellini Mystery by Christobel Kent at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Dead Season: A Sandro Cellini Mystery by Christobel Kent at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.