A Darkness Descending (Sandro Cellini) by Christobel Kent

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A Darkness Descending (Sandro Cellini) by Christobel Kent

Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The fourth in the Sandro Cellini series is bang up to the moment in its themes and has a clever plot. The pace is a little slow for my taste - but you might well think differently.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Atlantic
ISBN: 978-0857893260

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It was a new political party and it seemed to have caught the public's imagination, particularly the young and even some older people, embarrassed by the antics of their prime minister. Then the leader, Niccolo Rosselli collapsed at a rally - but there was worse to come. His partner, Flavia, disappeared leaving behind a devastated Niccolo - and a baby who was only a matter of weeks old. She was found in a down-at-heel hotel, where she'd ended her life in the bathroom. But why would she do it? Why did she not leave a note? Sandro Cellini was called in to investigate - but quite what was he investigating?

The themes here are bang up to date, with perils which would never have been encountered little more than a decade or so ago. It's about the dark places into which it's possible to sink, even when you're in an apparently stable relationship, with a partner, a child or parents. And then there are the people who are prepared to bring this about, for their own personal gain and no thought for the damage done to others. There's a dark force in this book - and it's a character in its own right, long before you can put a name or a face to it.

Florence is a strong presence in the book too and it's not just the city the tourists know but the rather less glamorous parts known only to the residents. There's the same sort of feeling for the political sensitivities which played such a major part in the Aurelio Zen books by the late and much lamented Michael Dibdin. You might not understand why some things are tolerated (indeed, even elected) in Italy - but you'll realise why it's possible. Christobel Kent has her finger on the pulse.

Sandro Cellini is a credible central character - an ex-policeman who hasn't really left the ethos behind, but who understands that he's now firmly outside the picket fence. But it's his wife, Luisa, who comes off the page best of all. She's recovering from breast cancer and at the stage where she can consider a reconstruction, but for all her own problems she can still reach out to other people. She's sharp and she stands no nonsense - my heart always lifted when Luisa appeared!

I found the plot a little slow with rather too much emphasis on the why of everyone's actions - their motivations. That's a personal preference though and it might well appeal to you if you're looking for a more leisurely read. I'd still like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

It's an entirely different setting but you might also enjoy The Detective's Daughter by Lesley Thomson.

Christobel Kent's Sandro Cellini Mysteries in Chronological Order

Buy A Darkness Descending (Sandro Cellini) by Christobel Kent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Darkness Descending (Sandro Cellini) by Christobel Kent at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy A Darkness Descending (Sandro Cellini) by Christobel Kent at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Darkness Descending (Sandro Cellini) by Christobel Kent at Amazon.com.


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