I have finished the 113th book for the book challenge. It was A Murder in Tuscany (Sandro Cellini) by Christobel Kent.
Sandro Cellini is working his private detecting business in Florence. He has been following a young girl for her father who is afraid she is into drugs. Guili is helping him in this endeavor. It is grueling work and not very rewarding. The girl’s boyfriend is the son of Niccolo Orfeo, the Count.
Sandro is fighting with his wife Louisa. She has had cancer but is in remission. She has been promoted at work to assistant buyer. Her employer wants her to go with him to New York. Sandro is jealous.
Then Sandro gets a call to investigate the death of Dottoressa Loni Meadows, the Director of the Castello Orfeo, an artists’ retreat. She was killed when her car hit a patch of ice near the castle. But her husband the lawyer Mascarello doesn’t believe it was an accident. He believes she was murdered.
But how can this be. She hit a patch of ice. She suffered injuries. She then died. How could someone arrange this? But Sandro investigates the situation. He learns that the guests at the castle all have a reason to want revenge on Loni Meadows.
Alex Fairhead had an affair with Meadows twenty years ago in London. She aborted his child. He wrote an anonymous email to the Board of Directors of the castle about her appointment as Director. Tiazione Scarpa, who is in a wheelchair from a bomb, has reason to hate her husband who defended the bomber who was acquitted. Michelle Connor’s husband committed suicide after he was denied a place at the castle. Tina Kreutz had her works lambasted by Meadows on her blog. Per Hansen was in love with her and was going to leave his wife for her. Luca Gallo, the manager, has been long put upon by Meadows. Niccolo Orfeo was her lover.
How do Sandro and Catrina Giottione sort through these suspects and discover how one of them committed murder. Sandro looks at the body and sees a mark on her neck that shouldn’t be there. Her telephone is missing. There is no reason for there to be ice on the road at that spot. He questions all the people at the castle and learns that a girl with a backpack was seen near the spot. He surmises that she was carrying water to freeze into ice on the road.
Orfeo’s phone disappears. Michelle and Tina find it and look through it. They learn that he is having an affair with Meadows. Tina says she will give it to Luca. But she sends a message to Meadows to meet her at a hotel. Meadows goes off in her car and spins out on the ice. Tina goes out to the accident scene and takes the phone and throws it in the river and kills the Director.
Cate realizes the murderer must be Tina and goes to the villanina to confront her. The Director’s clothes are burning and Alex Fairhead is unconscious. Tina has hanged herself in the yard. Louisa, Sandro’s wife, has helped Sandro by going through the suspects and targeting the people she felt were the dangerous ones. Tina was the one she targeted.
Cate has helped Sandro in his investigations and now Sandro van go back to Florence and make up with Louisa, realizing she still loves him and him alone.
This was not a fast-paced book until the very end. It was interesting how all the guests had a reason to hate Loni Meadows. I went back and forth several times about who the murderer could be. It really could have been anyone of the guests. It was a clever story.