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A Time of Mourning: Sandro Cellini 1 [Paperback]

Christobel Kent
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

1 May 2009
When a young English girl goes missing from among Florence's hard-drinking, high-living community of foreign art students, at first ex-policeman, good husband and newly private detective Sandro Cellini is unwilling to see any connection with his investigation of the suicide of an elderly Jewish architect. But as he looks more closely into the circumstances of Claudio Gentileschi's death the connections between the cases multiply, and Sandro's first case turns out to be darker and more complex than he could have imagined.

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A Time of Mourning: Sandro Cellini 1 + A Fine and Private Place (Sandro Cellini 2) + The Dead Season (Sandro Cellini 3)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843549484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843549482
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 580,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


The dank, gloomy and often sinister backdrop chimes well with the events that unfold... An intelligent and convincing thriller with fleshed-out characters you want to meet again. --Carla McKay, Daily Mail

Taut and thoughtful --Mark Lawson, Guardian

Elaborate and convincing... I gobbled it up - how could one help it? Such a potent sense of place and such gripping events. --Diana Athill


'I loved this book and hated putting it down. It is both a taut thriller and a beautifully observed story of a young woman's coming of age. Michael Dibdin meets Muriel Spark.'

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Time of Mourning 26 May 2009
It is very unusual to read a book set in Tuscany which does not involve burning sun, relentless heat and chirping cicadas. A Time of Mourning is set in Florence during a week of relentless winter rains, described so perfectly that I felt chilly and damp while sitting cosily in my kitchen. A policeman, who has taken early retirement following a past lapse of judgment begins his new career as a private detective investigating the disappearance of a young English art student.

Whilst it is a cracking good mystery it is Ms Kent's descriptive powers which make it such a pleasure to read, it is not a guide book to Florence but you do finish the book feeling you intimately know the hidden corners and dark turnings of the city.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Florence in the Rain 27 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you wondered after you'd read this author's `A Florentine Revenge' what happened to the policeman - Sandro Cellini - then this is the book for you. Sandro has retired from the police and has set up as a private investigator. His first client Is Lucia - the widow of an eminent Jewish architect; she wants Sandro to find out why her husband committed suicide as she knows of no reason for him to do so. The action of the story takes place in Florence during a very wet week at the beginning of November.

On the same day that Claudio - Lucia's husband - walked into the River Arno, a student disappears from one of the many international art schools in Florence and Sandro is contacted by her mother to ask if he can attempt to track her down. As with any Christobel Kent novel there are wheels within wheels and everything is connected in ways which at first seemed unlikely. Sandro himself is a sympathetic character as he struggles to come to terms with his new career and to unravel the mysteries of the drowned architect and the missing girl.

Veronica (Ronnie) Hutton appear to be a typical wild child and there are any number of reasons why she could have disappeared. Seen through the eyes of the other characters, it is difficult for the reader for Sandro and her roommate Iris to work out what she is really like. Iris herself seems quiet and subdued in relation to the other students but as the mystery unravels Iris becomes stronger and a more interesting person. The characters are believable and complex - Paulo and his wife Anna who own and run the art school and an associated gallery and Paulo's assistant Antonella - the students - Jackson, Sophia and Hiroko - Sandro and his wife Luisa who are battling their own problems.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great book by Christobel Kent 28 Aug 2009
By LucyW
This is the third book I've read by Christobel Kent and I've become quite a fan of her's.

A private investigator on his first two assignments must uncover the link between the apparent suicide of an old man and a missing teenager. There are enough clever twists and turns, although some predictable, to make this book a real page-turner.

The author's knowledge of Florence shines throughout this novel, with colourful insight and detail, adding to the joy of reading this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian Crime 20 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a great fan of Italian crime fiction i decided to read this introduction to Sandro Cellini, a private detective in Florence. It's an unusual tale of an ex cop, a missing art student, a survivor of the death camps and an art forger. It keeps the reader interested until the final denouement which is the hallmark of a good crime novel, after all. Not a Donna Leon but would be of interest to Brunetti fans like me who can't wait for the new novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read 8 Jun 2013
By Elsie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book had me gripped and the characters were good. Found a map of Florence to follow them around. Good twists to plot. Looking forward to 'A Florentine Revenge'
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Time of Mourning 28 May 2009
One wet November in Florence the grieving widowof an eminent Jewish architect comes to ask Sandro Cellini ex policeman to investigate her husbands purported suicide.This is Cellinis first case and it becomes almost over shadowed with the disappearance of a high living art student.
Cellini is painstakingly investigating both cases.
This is a fine detective novelset in Florence it is a real page turner and introduces some very memorable characters with sensitive detail it is a brilliant 5th novel the predessors all set in italy.If youhave a map of Florence handy you can track the case alongside Cellini.Enjoy I was sad to finish it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear! 20 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I had high hopes for this book but, sadly, I was disappointed. I did grit my teeth and persevere to the end but should have cut my losses early. I found the plot disjointed and the characterisation implausible. Very sad - I am searching for a successor to Donna Leon. This isn't within a million miles.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A new florentine detective 30 May 2012
Really good author and a great new detective -multo simpatico And another side of Florence so familiar after Michel Guiteri
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Rained throughout..............
This is a rather depressing book. The characters are rather dull and all have their problems to bear. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Saturnicus
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite a good read
Quite a good story but the author's writing style is a bit lightweight, for my taste. That's just my opinion!
Published 13 months ago by Diana
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
A recently discovered and to me a brand new author, and although initially I was doubtful, I got to enjoy this book immensely.
Published 14 months ago by goeash
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreary
I hated this book - managed to stay the course and listen to the end, but my goodness, what an effort to do so!. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling
A really enthralling book that truly evokes Florence through a very wet period of days.
I found that I it was really hard to put this book down as the storyline and twists... Read more
Published on 10 Dec 2010 by Geoff
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I finished reading this story last night - a two day read leaving me with the sense that I haven't read anything that will encourage me to read the next in the series. Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2010 by Scholastica
3.0 out of 5 stars A Time of Mourning
A pleasant enough book at bed time but surely not so good that it deserves 5 stars.

I'm not a crime reader aficionado but the story seems very conventional - disgraced... Read more
Published on 18 Sep 2010 by ABC
5.0 out of 5 stars A really enjoyable read.
This is the first book I've read by Christobel Kent. I don't usually go for detective books but I couldn't put this down. Read more
Published on 3 May 2010 by Amazon Customer
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