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Ghirlandaio's Daughter: A Detective Carlo Arbati Mystery Hardcover – March, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (March 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312151330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312151331
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,748,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

There's a very pleasant, unashamedly old-fashioned Hercule Poirot-like quality to this second book in a series about a Florentine detective, Carlo Arbati, who is also a prize-winning poet. Written by a Canadian professor, it lightly covers a buzzing nest of such human passions as lust, greed, and envy with a cultured patina of art and gracious living. Of course, that patina can easily disintegrate--especially when an American gangster bent on blackmail is killed by a falling bronze statue. Arbati, visiting the quiet town of Lucca to accept a poetry award, is as baffled as his local colleague by the events that follow. Also available in paperback is John Hill's first Arbati book, the award-winning The Last Castrato: A Mystery of FlorenceThe Last Castrato: A Mystery of Florence.

From Booklist

Cops in crime novels should know better than to take vacations. When Florentine poet and police inspector Carlo Arbati (Adam Dalgliesh, Italian style) agrees to accept a literary award in nearby Lucca, you know he's walking into trouble. First an American is impaled by the bronze spear of a Mycenaean warrior, and then another American mysteriously drops dead at the reception following Arbati's award ceremony. Arbati agrees to assist his friend and fellow cop Giorgio Bruni in the investigation, which soon uncovers an elaborate art-fraud scheme involving members of the Luccan expatriate community. This second Arbati mystery, following The Last Castrato (1995), clearly establishes Hill's series as a contender in the growing European procedural sweepstakes. Arbati combines Dalgliesh's poetic sensibility with a continental joie de vivre that proves irresistible, and the supporting cast of idiosyncratic expatriates is an equal delight. If the story itself seems overly reliant on formula, the Tuscan ambience provides more than adequate compensation. Bill Ott

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
The overall premise of this book was interesting - an "artful" murder mystery set in Tuscan Italy. Having visited Lucca myself, I was somewhat disppointed to find that relatively little of the flavor of the place came through in the book. Worse, the characters are shallow and stereotyped. The detective intuits his way through virtually every difficulty, using his mind reading powers to solve each problem. While a psychic detective may appeal to some, I find the concept not at all believable. The rest of the characters are poorly developed, shallow stereotypes and the dialogue is childish. The story had potential, but in the end, I would classify this book as "fluff".
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Kelly on June 17, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very badly written mystery. The language is tortured, the plot is weak, the characters have no depth. Want some examples- try using the word "effulgent" in a love poem. The main detective intuits the next step (the same way the Profiler does on TV) and goes to the scene of the crime long after ward only to discover the main clue that all of the local police missed. Lastly, a mystery set in Lucca should be filled with details about the beautiful walled Italian city- you better know those details from another source, you won't find them in any depth here.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Florentine police detective Carlo Arbati is elated over winning a gold
medal for his new poetry book. He travels to Lucca to collect his award and
spend some vacation time with his friend Inspector Giancarlo Bonelli, who
tells him about recent spearing death of an American. At the official
inquest, the death is ruled an accident. All seems quiet even though the two
police buddies have doubts about the official findings.
..... However, everything changes when a second corpse surfaces. Philadelphia
lawyer and a cousin to the first victim, Peter Morgan is found dead. Carlo
and Giancarlo work together to try to learn what is behind the two killings.
As they untangle a web of deceit an blackmail more complex than the DNA
double helix, the two law enforcement officials place their own lives on the
line. The lineup of people who want Morgan dead is immense. However when
Arbati is on the case abetted by Bonelli, it is a matter of time before they
uncover the identity of the killer, unless, that is, they are killed first.
...... The second Carol Arbati mystery is a great tale of international intrigue.
The superb story line will be devoured by who-done-it fans. Carl and his
pal are great characters, and the support cast add just the right amount of
flavoring to the mix. This novel is so enjoyable that this reviewer plans to
read John Spencer Hill's first Arbati tale, THE LAST CASTRATO, some time
soon.

.....Harriet Klausner
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a great old fashioned mystery in the Agatha Christie mold. There is an interesting, cultivated detective, a pleasant dalliance, and plenty of loopy characters. The murderer and the motive are plausible and all is revealed in the traditional gathering of suspects. Subplots-involving family matters- are quite touching even. A good choice for art lovers and Italophiles. Ciao.
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