Property of Blood
Elegant is the word for Nabb’s (The Monster of Florence; The Marshal at the Villa Torrini; etc.) 11th Salvatore Guarnaccia psychological police procedural, elegant in style and elegant of mind. Guarnaccia, marshal of the carabinieri, finds clues in the way people behave. His colleagues appreciate his talents, but tend to keep him on the sidelines of any investigation. For them, his greatest talent is in dealing with difficult people, questioning those reluctant to speak, calming those who refuse to be calmed. The unpretentious Sicilian sleuth, whose adopted city is Florence, has a gift for inspiring trust and encouraging others to confide in him. He also has a home life that includes a loving wife who nags him and two kids who give him problems. He is endearingly absent-minded. In the present tale, an American-born woman, Countess Olivia Brunamonti, has been kidnapped by a band of professional thugs. Italian law forbids the paying of ransom, and the family does not report the kidnapping for a week, deepening Olivia’s danger. In addition, the gang has left a false trail to a rival clan. Time, as they say, is running out. Olivia is a wonderful character. Her graphic account of her ordeal, which runs intermittently throughout the book, gives the reader a perspective on the physical and psychological seriousness of her situation. Nabb, an Englishwoman who has lived in Florence since 1975, is a fine writer with a sharp intelligence and deep sensitivity to human pain and frailty.