If you like to be kept on the edge of your seat, this list of mystery books set in Florence could be right up your alley. Mystery, suspense and thriller all spread throughout these novels to leave you feeling as though you’re conducting your very own detective case. With spine-tingling moments and head-spinning plots, these books will keep you gasping and guessing right up until the very last second. Can you solve the mystery?
The Way Back to Florence – Glenn Haybittle (2015)
The fierce skies over Germany and a war-torn Italy in the grip of Nazi occupation provide the setting for this novel of love and war. In 1937, three friends, Freddie (English), Isabella (Italian) and Oskar (German Jew), meet at an art school in Florence, but when the war breaks out must go their separate ways. Freddie returns to England to become a pilot, Oskar a dancer who escapes the 1942 roundup of Jews before arriving in Italy with his young daughter, whilst Isabella remains in Florence continuing to paint before being called to forge an old painting, thus seen as a Nazi collaborator by her neighbours. Will Freddie and Oskar find their way back to war-stricken Florence? This novel will send you on an emotional rollercoaster.
The Enchantress of Florence – Salman Rushdie (2009)
This is a mystical novel of a perplexing woman with supposed magical sorceress powers, looking to create her own fate in a male-dominated world. Salman Rushdie, arguably one of the world’s most important living writers, depicts two cities at the height of their powers, from the self-indulgent Mughal capital to Florence in the time of the High Renaissance. This book, despite being a challenging read, will satisfy, move and absorb you, and is guaranteed to reward your attention.
Take No More – Seb Kirby (2014)
Take No More by Seb Kirby is a must read for those looking for a thought-provoking and action-packed crime fiction. The debut thriller in the James Blake thriller series, this page turner comprises of James Blake discovering his wife Julia dead in their home in London, leaving him determined to find her killers. As the prime suspect, he has little help from the police and he flees England on a journey into the unknown that leads him to Florence and Venice. Julia’s last text message with the words “help me” and an attachment of a Michelangelo painting are the only things he has to go on, but will it be enough to find the truth behind the mystery? This simple yet effective and well-crafted plot will give an intimate insight into Florence and all things Italian, whilst absorbing the reader deep into a dark and corrupt underworld.
The Black Rose of Florence – Michele Giuttari (2012)
When a woman is found dead in her Florence apartment with a black rose between her legs, along with two further murders of a woman burnt and man shot to death, it leads to a huge “whodunnit” inquiry to find the brutal murderer. It’s based on real-life experience: author Michele Giuttari is former head of the Florence Police Force (1995-2003), where he was responsible for re-opening the Monster of Florence case and jailing several key Mafia figures. While his fictional “Chief Michele Ferrara” has experienced Florence’s more sinister side before, never has he witnessed anything quite so extreme. As more deaths keep occurring and becoming progressively worse, it’s up to Ferrara to uncover the mystery, which might mean facing some demons of his past, in order to solve his most menacing investigation yet.
Charmer’s Death: Temptation in Florence – Beate Boeker (2013)
This is a quirky and entertaining mystery with a cosy romance twist. By successful author Beate Boeker, this humorous read is for those looking for a more fun, light-hearted thriller. Main character Carlina Ashley owns a lavish lingerie store in Florence’s city centre, selling a special kind of pantyhose. Sure enough, a murder case arises, suspected of having been carried out with a pair of pantyhose and by someone in relation to the shop. With the help of attractive Inspector Stefano Garini, for whom Carlina tries to control her feelings, together can they find the key to the mystery? This second mystery in the series Temptation in Florence has got it all, with many mysterious layers throughout; it will keep you uncovering one unexpected thing after another, yet is sprinkled with just the right amount of romance.
A Time of Mourning – Christobel Kent (2010)
On a rainy November month of full floods in Florence, a grieving widow comes to the help of private investigator Sandro Cellini, regarding the supposed suicide death of her husband. It seems clear at first that her husband who was found drowned in the River Arno did take his own life, but as time goes on, further details emerge, which reveal that not everything is as it seems. The first in the Sandro Cellini series by Christobel Kent, this is an evocative and engaging mystery thriller, which will keep you gripped throughout.
Inferno – Dan Brown (2014)
From the author of The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown upholds another best seller that is not to be overlooked. Set in Florence, the birthplace of Dante Alighieri, this story is a somewhat extreme scavenger hunt. When a Harvard professor wakes up in an Italian hospital with no memory of the past 36 hours nor the origin of a gruesome object now in his possession, it’s clear that he’s got a mystery on his hands. With a sinister organization out to kill him, he is forced to run away, accompanied by a new assistant of a female doctor. Their mission is to discover the hidden clues in paintings and ancient objects connected to Dante’s Inferno but will they manage before it’s too late? This fast-paced and riveting read will captivate readers with the beauty of classic Italian art, history and literature.