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21 books of Christobel Kent

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Every August, Florence shimmers in the summer heat. But this year the heatwave is fiercer than usual, and the city's inhabitants have fled to the cool of the hills and beaches of the surrounding countryside. So it is no surprise that amidst the shrubbery of a normally busy roundabout, a corpse lies unnoticed, bloating in the humid air.
Sandro Cellini will not be joining the crowds of holidaymakers this year. The former policeman turned private detective has a case: a man who seems to have vanished into thin air - leaving his pregnant young wife alone in the city. Meanwhile, bank teller Roxana Delfino is also stuck in the city for the season, with nothing to do but worry for her aging mother and puzzle over the disappearance of one her regular clients.
As all Florence sweats it out, Cellini attempts as best he can to grapple with his case and the complications it throws up. And when the weather finally breaks, it brings with it a shocking revelation . . .

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When Silvano Niccolo, the driven, charismatic leader of a Florentine political movement, collapses at a rally, his young party immediately comes under threat. And when it emerges that his long time partner, Flavia, has disappeared, leaving behind not only a devastated husband but their newborn son, the political becomes dangerously personal - and Sandro Cellini is drafted in to investigate. The trail leads to a tired sea-­side town and a modest hotel, where Flavia chose to end her life. But Cellini isn't satisfied - why would one so young and with so much to live for, walk away from all she loves? As he digs into Flavia's secret world, however, Sandro uncovers the hidden life of a woman consumed with private passions and a deadly, dark obsession. And as the private and public realms intersect, he cannot forget that life in modern Italy has a perilous edge - fuelled as much by rage as desire.

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Published in the United Kingdom in 2015, Christobel Kent's The Crooked House has drawn comparisons to works by the pantheon of British female literary suspense writers—­Daphne du Maurier, Agatha Christie, P. D. James, and Kate Atkinson. In this darkly atmospheric psychological thriller, she accomplishes what those celebrated writers do best: she creates an insular world (a single house, a small town) where something sinister has occurred, and subtly inflects each page with the toxic residue of violence.­Much like the unnamed narrator of Rebecca, Alison lives her life under the radar. She has no ties, no home, and she spends her days at a backroom publishing job. Which is how she wants it. Because Alison used to be a teenager named Esme, who lived in a dilapidated house by a bleak estuary with her parents and three siblings. One night, something unspeakable happened in the house, and Alison emerged the only survivor. In order to escape from the horror...

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Suddenly, she felt the thrill of being in so foreign a place, far more foreign that she had expected; a place where anything might happen ...­'The restored Tuscan farmhouse on the edge of an ancient wood is the perfect setting for a late September holiday. As Justine Elliott, ehr friends and their families from university gather to relax and unwind, she hopes it will be a chance to put the most tragic events of the prvious year behind them all.­However, the apparently peaceful Italian countryside holds as many secrets as its visitors and, before the week is out, the past and the present will collide, with unexpected and dramatic results ...

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Celia lives and works in Florence as a tour guide and thinks the forthcoming birthday celebrations for the young wife of wealthy businessman Lucas Marsh, will bring the usual mix of museums, galleries and exclusive shopping. But in the cold December weather a man's body is found in a disused swimming pool - a man who 15 years earlier was the chief suspect in an enquiry into the death of a six year old English girl. As Celia's working weekend progresses, she finds she is by no means alone in remembering the gruesome details of that terrible murder, and she and her companions seem unwittingly to get embroiled further and further into the mysteries surrounding a 15 year old grievance, and a very current murder.

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When private investigator Sandro Cellini is invited to attend a glamorous launch party for a luxury residence overlooking Florence, he has no idea what he's walking into. Behind the austere beauty of Palazzo San Giorgio's faç­ade terrible secrets lie hidden: not only an old torture chamber uncovered during excavations, but a much more recent malevolence.­Then the head of security dies under suspicious circumstances and Sandro takes on the dead man's role. He soon discovers that his predecessor's death was not random, or isolated, when one of the residents is found murdered in her room. Now, Sandro must work to untangle the secrets of the palazzo to unmask a deadly killer before the fate of another victim is sealed...

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Meet Sandro Cellini, Florence’s answer to Donna Leon’s Guido Brunetti. One wet November in Florence, the grieving widow of an eminent Jewish architect comes to visit Sandro Cellini, good husband, disgraced ex-­policeman, and recently turned PI, to ask him to investigate her husband’s suicide. Cellini takes her on out of sympathy, although this first case makes a downbeat start to his new career. There seems no doubt that Claudio Gentileschi, a Holocaust survivor and lifelong depressive found drowned on a bleak stretch of the River Arno, did take his own life, and initially Cellini imagines that his only duty is to support the widow through her time of mourning. But as Cellini doggedly retraces the architect’s last hours through the worst rains since the devastating floods of 1966, a young Englishwoman is found to have gone missing from the city’s community of hard-­drinking, high-­living art students, and Sandro’s search turns abruptly into something grimmer and more urgent than he . . .

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Rose Fell's friends think she's taking a big risk when she leaves the security of home and career to move to the beautiful but isolated village of Grosso, near Genoa. But after a year of emotional turmoil Rose no longer has any ties back home, and she relishes the challenges of a new start. Making a home, however, in the ravishing, haunted landscape of Italy's riviera coast, turns out to be lonelier than Rose had anticipated. And it is only when she is asked to write a profile of one of her reclusive neighbours, the once-­glamorous film star Elvira Vitale, that Rose feels her new life is really beginning. But when a young girl's body is found on the local beach, and the following day Elvira's hardworking migrant cleaner, Ania, goes missing, Rose finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation that threatens the idyll she has worked so hard to establish.

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Books of Christobel Kent