I am delighted to share my review today of The Medici Murders by David Hewson. This is the first book in the Venetian Mystery series and I am looking forward to reading more of this one. This was a great intro to this author as it is the first of his books I have read.
My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this murder mystery from the publisher Canongate Books.
When a well-known British TV historian, Marmaduke Godolphin, is found murdered in the canals of Venice during carnival, stabbed by a stiletto blade, the Venetian police are eager to have the case solved and cleared up within a day – murder is bad for tourism!
The police recruit the help of retired archivist, Arnold Clover. Godolphin had hired his services on arriving in Venice to help sort through some historical papers of note. These dusty documents may contain previously unknown information about the assassination of the murderer, Lorenzino de’ Medici, 500 years previously.
How coincidental that Godolphin meets his death in the same place as the Medici murderer, Lorenzino, on a cold, dark, bloody night. Can Arnold use his powers of perception to establish a link and solve the murder of Godolphin?
This is a murder mystery that has the feel of a sleuthing-style whodunnit. A mix of a present-day murder that has been mixed with a historical fiction story, some of which is factual.
Duke Marmaduke is a historian who has become a TV celebrity, although his spotlight has waned over the years. Once he was in demand for his TV shows that made history more theatrical than necessarily true. He contacts others for help in discovering some documents that had been lost over time. One of these is Arnold, he has been a diligent archivist and has moved to Italy to retire. Arnold is a person who has always been in the background and the complete opposite of the loud and bullish Duke.
It is when those called, meet up that Duke reveals, well partly reveals his next project. He has been given documents that could shine a new light on an old murder. It is one that could have some interesting outcomes. When Duke is found dead in the canal, it shows similarities to the old murder, so who wants him dead? Arnold is asked to talk with a Captain who leads the investigation, it is this account that tells the story.
I liked this story and it is one that had me intrigued. I did find it a little slow at times but on the whole, it is an interesting story. It is one that had loads of twists and the author has set the stage with some very interesting characters. There are connections and these are told as there is a relevance to when the gathered group were at University. Duke was head of this group known as the Guilded Circle, Arnold was not part of this so it gives him an ideal perspective, an outsider that is looking in. I liked this a lot as it gave Arnold a spectator’s view as such and when he relates the information to the Captain he does so in a more neutral.
This is a mix of historical fact and the author does say at the end of the book that there is also his fictional slant on the mystery. It makes for an interesting and also quite addictive story. As I said I did find it slow, but as I got more used to the characters and their roles I found it gained pace.
This is one that fans of murder mystery genres would enjoy, it has a sleuthing vibe to it and while it does have a police presence it is not a police procedural. I must also mention the food that is consumed by the characters, there is quite a bit, but it does sound very mouthwatering and very Venetian.
A wonderfully twisted story that had me guessing and one I would happily recommend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Hewson is a former journalist with The Times, Sunday Times and Independent. He is the author of more than twenty-five novels, including his Rome-based Nic Costa series which has been published in fifteen languages, and his Amsterdam-based series featuring detective Pieter Vos. He has also written three acclaimed adaptations of the Danish TV series, The Killing. He lives near Canterbury in Kent. @david_hewson | davidhewson.com
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