The Dark Heart of Florence: A Lady Emily Mystery (Lady Emily Mysteries, 15)

by Tasha Alexander

Hardcover, 2021




Minotaur Books (2021), Edition: 1, 320 pages


Fiction. Mystery. Historical Fiction. HTML: In the next Lady Emily Mystery The Dark Heart of Florence, critically acclaimed author Tasha Alexander transports listeners to the legendary city of Florence, where Lady Emily and Colin must solve a murder with clues leading back to the time of the Medici. In 1903, tensions between Britain and Germany are starting to loom over Europe, something that has not gone unnoticed by Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves. An agent of the Crown, Colin carries the weight of the Empire, but his focus is drawn to Italy by a series of burglaries at his daughter's palazzo in Florenceâ??burglaries that might have international ramifications. He and Emily travel to Tuscany where, soon after their arrival, a stranger is thrown to his death from the roof onto the marble palazzo floor. Colin's trusted colleague and fellow agent, Darius Benton-Stone, arrives to assist Colin, who insists their mission must remain top secret. Finding herself excluded from the investigation, Emily secretly launches her own clandestine inquiry into the murder, aided by her spirited and witty friend, CĂ©cile. They soon discover that the palazzo may contain a hidden treasure dating back to the days of the Medici and the violent reign of the fanatic monk, Savonarolaâ??days that resonate in the troubled early twentieth century, an uneasy time full of intrigue, duplicity, and warring ideologies. Emily and CĂ©cile race to untangle the cryptic clues leading them through the Renaissance city, but an unimagined danger follows closely behind. And when another violent death puts Emily directly in the path of a killer, there's much more than treasure at stake... A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Book… (more)


½ (24 ratings; 3.8)

User reviews

LibraryThing member TheQuietReader
Colin Hargreaves' attention is on his daughter's palazzo in Florence, where there has been a series of burglaries but he also has a duty to the Crown that he must carry out. Lady Emily is less than pleased with her husband's reticence, especially when they reach the city and are immediately met
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with murder. With secrets surrounding them, Lad Emily follows clues in search of a treasure dating back to the Medici.

After so many years of marriage, I would have expected Emily and Colin would have found some way to balance his career and their married life. "You have your secrets, so I will have mine" seems like a dangerous mindset to have in a marriage. I could understand Emily's frustration that her husband wouldn't tell her the truth about what he needed to do in Florence, but it also frustrated me as a reader to see her take it as reason to do as she pleased to learn the truth.

Th details of the mystery were interesting. The book's strength lies in the details of the setting and history. The storyline of past was only interesting in the last half when reign of Friar Savanarola began.

Well written and certainly well researched, this is one I would recommend to fans of the series. While it can be read as a stand alone, it does take the reader some time to catch up.

I received a free copy from NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own.
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LibraryThing member BarbaraRogers
Tensions are mounting between Germany and England in the buildup to the first World War. Each wants to collect the secrets the other side is holding and the rest of Europe is their hunting ground. After a series of burglaries at his daughter Kat’s palazzo in Florence, Colin Hargreaves is sent by
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the Crown to investigate those and other mysterious events happening there. Colin is advised to bring his wife, Lady Emily, along to make it appear it is simply a family sightseeing vacation. Little do they know what a tangled web of deceit and betrayal they are about to embark upon.

They hadn’t even had time for their first cup of tea in Florence before the first body made its bloody appearance. As agents of the Crown, Colin and his fellow agent, Darius Benton-Stone, couldn’t share any details of their investigation with the very curious Lady Emily. No problem, since Lady Emily has brought along a friend, Parisian Cecile du Lac, they will just conduct their own investigation. Of course, there is an intriguing possibility of hidden treasure that Emily and Cecile will look into as well. Between investigating murders, hidden treasure, and sightseeing Emily and Cecile are a very busy pair!

As the bodies mount and the separate investigations become more and more entwined, it becomes apparent that the treasure and the murders are connected in some way. Who has the knowledge to carry out such a dastardly plot? Well, you’ll just have to read the tale to see for yourself.

In the last few books of this series, the author has included an additional story from ancient history. That story ties into and/or explains the happenings in the current story. In this one, the story takes place in 1400s Florence. It chronicles the life of Mena Portenari from the time she is sixteen under the de’ Medici rule and then into terror evoking rule of friar Savonarola. It is a sad tale of victimization and heroism, but it does explain parts of the current case.

While the ancient stories are nice, it has become a bit of a trope for this author. It does get a little tiresome jumping from the current mystery to the ancient mystery in each chapter, even though both stories are well done.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I hope you will as well.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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LibraryThing member eyes.2c
Lady Emily shows the way again!

Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves head to Florence to investigate robberies at his daughter’s palazzo in Florence. Just after they arrive a man falls to his death from the roof.
It’s 1903 and tensions are rising between Germany and England, Colin as an agent of the
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Crown has government affairs to distill particularly given the death. He’s assisted by his associate Darius Benton-Stone. Emily can’t be involved in affairs of state. (Have to love the relationship between Colin and Emily!)
Emily is decidedly put out, however her friend Cécile (who’s amazing!!) joins her in rather interesting methods of investigating the matter. What they run into is the widely held belief that there’s treasure hidden in the palazzo and that all treasure seekers will die. (Hence the obviousness of the death that’s just happened). Rather than deterring these two very clever women it spurs them on to not only get to the bottom of the murder but too solve the puzzle of the lost treasure.
Running alongside is the story of Florence and the residents of the palazzo in the latter days of the Medici. This was even more fascinating!
I loved the way these stories dovetailed as the search for the dealers of death takes flight.
For me the interweaving of these stories worked fabulously and took the Lady Emily mysteries to a new high.

A St. Martin's Press ARC via NetGalley
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
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LibraryThing member jamespurcell
Colin takes Emily to Florence to cover for one of his "Om the Queen's Service" activities. Soon body's are falling from the roof and Emily is chasing the Medici Era treasure in the villa. Savonarola is clearly the culprit from the past but the current day ones vacillate between Russians and Germans
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and turn out to be neither or both as we are left uncertain who the real culprit works for.
TA does not disappoint as lots of past and novel era site and treasure visits leaven the atmosphere nicely.
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LibraryThing member bookappeal
This is the first book I've read by this author and in this series. I only spent one day in Florence but I was completely enthralled by it and Alexander's well-researched book brought back some of the gorgeous art, architecture, geography, and history of the city. Lady Emily is a capable amateur
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investigator who does not ignore the potential dangers of criminal investigation. Her husband's secretive work for British government adds an extra element of intrigue as they both work on the same case but with very different resources and methods. The parallel plot of a woman in 1480 who makes one mistake that taints her whole life is engaging even before it's connected to the 1903 investigation of burglaries and murder in a palazzo. Nicely paced.
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Physical description

9.5 inches


1250622069 / 9781250622068
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