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The Monster of Florence: A Florentine Mystery    by Magdalen Nabb order for
Monster of Florence
by Magdalen Nabb
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2013 (1999)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
*   Reviewed by Bob Walch

It is seldom that I donít finish a book once I start it, but this latest Magdalen Nabb novel was so uninspired that I finally gave up in frustration. Marshal Guarnaccia, the series' protagonist, moves through this case with fits and starts. I think his lack of enthusiasm is contagious and when you realize the detective doesn't seem to be that engaged most of the time, it is easy for you to lose interest too.

The lackadaisical Guarnaccia has been assigned to a team investigating a cold case concerning a series of serial killings involving couples engaged in romantic interludes in their autos. It appears a decidedly unappealing yet innocent individual is going to be railroaded into being charged with the crimes unless the plodding investigator can nab the real killer.

As he digs through reams of material, which the reader must also plow through, the plot stagnates to the point where the temptation to either skip ahead or close the book becomes too much to ignore. Either way, the lack of satisfying action makes it a challenge to continue.

The author also places another morsel on Guarnaccia's investigative plate. He's looking into a situation involving a potential art forgery for a friend, and, sadly, that's not very interesting either.

Police procedurals can sometime get bogged down in details that may not interest the casual reader. In this instance the minutiae, coupled with a protagonist who doesn't really pique our interest, spells disaster. Just beyond the half way point of this snooze of a mystery, I suddenly realized I didn't care how or even if all the problems raised in this mystery were resolved. I closed the book, tossed the cursory notes I had made and reached for the next book on the stack next to my chair.

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