Mystery Authors You May Have Missed
Magdalen Nabb


Magdalen Nabb was born in a small village in Lancashire, England in 1947 and has lived in Florence, Italy since 1975. When she moved to Italy with her son, she knew no one in Florence and spoke no Italian. Ms. Nabb had taught pottery in an English art school so in Italy she got a job in a majolica pottery studio in a small village outside of Florence. While working at the studio she would eat in the only restaurant in the town. The owner of the restaurant insisted she eat at the table with the carabinieri (police) as she would usually be the only female in the restaurant. The protagonist of her mystery series, Marshall Guarnaccia, is based upon the men she ate lunch with everyday. The town and the pottery industry are featured in her title, The Marshal and the Murderer. Nabb also writes children's books.

What she writes: Nabb has written thirteen detective novels featuring Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia, chief of a carabinieri station in Florence, Italy. All of the novels are set in Florence or the surrounding Tuscan countryside. A strong sense of place is a dominate theme in these titles, so the reader becomes aware of a Florence that the tourist rarely sees. This includes the strong traditional ties of the Italian community and the less desirable side of the social outcasts of the community. Marshal Guarnaccia was a minor character in the early titles but Nabb said her reading public "reacted to him so positively" that he soon became the main character. He is a quiet observer and often considered slow and ponderous in his investigations, but his methodical methods bring results and the gratitude of the little people of the community.

List of works
Death of an Englishman (1981) The Marshal Makes His Report (1990)
Death of a Dutchman (1982) The Marshal at the Villa Torrini (1991)
Death in Springtime (1982) The Monster of Florence (1996)
Death in Autumn (1985) Property of Blood (2001)
The Marshal and the Murderer (1987) Some Bitter Taste (2002)
The Marshal and the Madwoman (1988) The Innocent (2005)
The Marshal’s Own Case (1990)  


What the critics say
"Combining the appeal of a good detective story with the charms of a travelogue" - Chicago Tribune, September 8, 2002
"artfully understated (and underappreciated) mysteries of Magdalen Nabb" - New York Times, October 23, 2005
"the self carabinierie marshall …is among the genre’s most appealing cops. Part Maigret part Columbo, the blue-collar Guarnaccia solves crimes almost in spite of himself" - Booklist,
May 1, 2006


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