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The Marshal and the Murderer (Crime,…
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The Marshal and the Murderer (Crime, Penguin) (original 1987; édition 1988)

par Magdalen Nabb

Séries: Marshal Guarnaccia (5)

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1473142,735 (3.26)3
A young Swiss art student has been reported missing, and Marshal Guarnaccia must travel to the small town where she was studying to find out the truth about her disappearance. When her body is found, it appears that she was the victim of a sex-related crime. But Guarnaccia--who comes from a small town himself--suspects that a local feud with roots in the horrors and betrayals of World War II may play an important part in the solution to the crime.… (plus d'informations)
Membre:laurettaburman
Titre:The Marshal and the Murderer (Crime, Penguin)
Auteurs:Magdalen Nabb
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1988), Edition: First Thus, Paperback, 208 pages
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Mots-clés:mystery

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L'Artisan du crime par Magdalen Nabb (1987)

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5th in the Marshal Guarnaccia of Florence series.

On a Monday morning, a young Swiss art student, a potter, is reported missing by her roommate. Guarnaccia tends not to take the report seriously—after all, the young woman was of age, and perhaps she just took off for the weekend. But the roommate insists, and so Guarnaccia decides to at least look into where she might have been seen last—in a town whose business is pottery. While he can find people who assert that yes, she was a regular on the bus, at two different workshops, he can not find anyone who can claim to have seen her alive after Friday. But the marshal, ever sensitive to the subtleties of the people around him, soon senses that something is wrong—that the people of this town, reserved and clannish to an extreme, are holding something back. He enlists the aid of the local marshal, Niccolini, who hails from Rome and who has only been in the town a year. Soon the young woman’s body is discovered buried in a sherd ruck outside of one of the two workshops she frequented. Clearly she has been murdered; from the state of her clothing, it appears that it may have been a sexually-motivated crime. Everyone claims to know nothing. The Marshal is convinced otherwise.

From this plot setting, Nabb unfolds an unusual tale, in that the origins of the murder go back to the end of World War II when Mussolini’s regime was crumbling but the Germans still held sway in Tuscany and were still carrying out reprisals against the partisans and anyone thought to harbor them. At one point, a retired physician recounts the tale. It is one of horror—of traitors, of betrayal, of SS brutality, of rape and murder as the Germans pulled back from Italy and the Allies, especially the Americans, began their invasion of the area.

This book is a departure from Nabb’s usual style, in that the tale told by the doctor is a long one—pages of exposition, rather late in the story. Normally, that would slow the pace of the book considerably, while certainly the main plot comes to a halt, the story itself is so fascinating that you just don’t notice that the main plot is in suspended animation. There is no glamour to war; the doctor’s tale underlies the suffering of the lives of an occupied people who are then caught between two armies.

In addition, the denouement is an extremely exciting one—not the usual where the Marshal resolves the murder and then the case ends, either with the apprehension of the criminal or in some other fashion—many time with the criminal escaping, at least temporarily. Not so in this book!

All of Nabb’s strengths as an author in the genre are on display here—the spare but evocative writing, the excellent characterization, the intriguing plots. An interesting aside: when Nabb, a potter, first moved to Italy from England, this was the town in which she first settled. Also, a character in the town—not the Marshal of Carabinieri—was the model for Guarnaccia.

While in my opinion this is not the strongest installment in the series, all things are relative, and it’s still better than 99% of the police procedurals out there. You cannot go wrong with this series. Highly recommended. ( )
1 voter Joycepa | Oct 4, 2008 |
This was very bland -- one of a mystery series in which a Marshal of the carabinieri solves crimes in and around Florence. This one took place in a rural pottery town and involved the murder of a Swiss girl apprenticing at one of the factories. But it was just hum-drum.

Clumsily-written, boring characters, minimal to no suspense and curiousity generated. There was absolutely nothing clever or interesting regarding how the Marshal solved the crime. I guessed at the murderer fairly easily.

Despite this more interesting setting, I'll stick to quirky ol' Kinsey Milhone in boring California for this sort of serial crime-solving thing. First and last of this series. ( )
  jhowell | Feb 29, 2008 |
Langweilig und langatmig ( )
  Kaysbooks | Aug 18, 2007 |
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A young Swiss art student has been reported missing, and Marshal Guarnaccia must travel to the small town where she was studying to find out the truth about her disappearance. When her body is found, it appears that she was the victim of a sex-related crime. But Guarnaccia--who comes from a small town himself--suspects that a local feud with roots in the horrors and betrayals of World War II may play an important part in the solution to the crime.

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