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Death in the High City: A crime novel set in Italy Paperback – 4 May 2014

3.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: East Wind Publishing (4 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0992944317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0992944315
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 930,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Val Culley was a journalist for more than 30 years, working in newspapers, television and PR, until her love of Italy started her writing for magazines and websites about her favourite locations. Val’s obsession with Italy combined with her fascination for detective fiction has now led her to write her first novel, Death in the High City. Set in one of Val’s favourite places, Bergamo in Lombardia, the novel features detective duo Kate Butler, a freelance journalist, and Steve Bartorelli, a retired Detective Chief Inspector. The first British crime novel to be set in Bergamo, Death in the High City is about the suspicious death of an English woman who was writing a biography of composer Gaetano Donizetti. It will interest readers who enjoy cosy crime fiction or detective novels with an Italian setting. Val lives in Leicestershire with her husband, Jon Culley, a sports writer. They have two grown up children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I got the flyer for this book when I was in Bergamo in February, it is a truly beautiful city. I was interested to read the book as I wanted something that would be entertaining as murder mystery wrap up with a bit of history and travel. I found it lacking on both counts.

The prose, especially early in the book, do not flow well. There is something lumpy about it combined with including fairly mundane occurances. The style at times is like Enid Blyton's Famous Five with every character given a sinister light and some of the connections between the Care Home and Bergamo really do stretch credibility. In addition the question of those who knew Sophie is clumsy, so very direct, in reality this would lead to those being questioned bring the conversation to an end.

Nothing useful was made of the setting, until about chapter 17 I was getting to wonder if there would be any description of Bergamo, then there was crumbs. Until then all we had was a list of streets and piaza that had be walked through to and from appointments, there was no flesh on the bone that brought the city to light. We could have had the names of streets in Bradford for the amount I was learning about the Italian city. It would have be simple to have used the Basilica as a place of contemplation where Kate could reflected in front of Donizetti's statue. Indeed the whole weaving of Donizetti into the story was tenuous and the ending hardly credible. There are a lack of feelings displayed in the novel at one point a car tries twice to run Kate down and there is no real sense of how frightening this would be or the longer term effect of feeling your life was at risk.
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Format: Paperback
I could not put this book down! I started reading it on a Sunday morning & spent the rest of the day totally absorbed in it.

It's a brilliant mystery that genuinely kept me guessing until the end. I absolutely loved the setting too, it made me feel like I was in Italy with the characters (I wanted to go to Bergamo.. wander the streets.. sit down in a cafe with a glass of wine!)

I'm very eagerly awaiting Val Culley's next book. (I'll be setting aside a weekend to devour it!)
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Format: Kindle Edition
I was recommended this by a friend, not normally the genre of book I read but I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I became hooked on it. It is cleverly written with believable characters and very enjoyable. It has clearly been researched well, the author has an amazing skill of setting the scene beautifully and on many occasions I got lost in the pages and could envisage myself there. The pacing works well and it is flows evenly throughout, I don't normally review every book I read (that would take forever!) but I felt the previous review of this was a bit confusing/misleading and wanted to balance that out. Obviously I understand we cannot all have the same views on everything and we are entitled to our own opinions. I 100% would recommend this book, even to those like me that would usually be put off by this type of novel.An unexpected gem, worth taking a chance.
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Format: Paperback
If you’re off to northern Italy, would like a flavour of Bergamo in particular and love a mystery read, then Val Culley’s novel Death in the High City is the one to take with you.
English-born but passionate about all things Italian, the author tells the story of journalist Kate Butler and her ex‘s policeman lover Steve Bartorelli as they sleuth their way through Bergamo to discover how Kate’s cousin Sophie met her mystery death.
By joining Kate and Steve on their mission, you’ll begin to recognise parts of the city that was originally built by the Venetians in the 16th century, its delightful town squares and insights into the everyday life of Bergamo today.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Had just visited Bergamo (which is indeed a lovely city) so was interested to read this story. It was a quick read fortunately as it isn't particularly gripping or well written. The characters never seemed to come to life and it was a bit formulaic. Having said that, it was an easy read, though I think it will be instantly forgotten.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a well crafted, brilliantly researched first novel. The story is compelling, with twists and turns to keep you guessing to the final page. It also paints a glorious picture of Bergamo which makes you want to take the next flight there.
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By joon on 8 Sept. 2015
Format: Paperback
I would have taken this book to have been written by a child. "He said, she said". The same old questions about the murder were still being asked and the book no further forward after reading 50% of it. A child writing this would have been more interesting. My husband gave up reading it after 2% and I should have followed suit. Dull, boring and like many other reviews here , I gave the book a chance because I have visited Bergamo many times but I think I will stick with history reads in future. Don't waste your money in this so called adult writing. How this lady can call herself an author, I do not know.
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