Thursday, August 7, 2014

History Corner / Book Review: City of Devils by Diana Bretherick

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge, from Pegasus Publishing, via Edelweiss, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it


The brightest mind in early criminology meets the darkest killer, in this debut mystery set in the heady, cultivated world of nineteenth century Turin.
Turin, Italy 1887. When James Murray, a young Scottish doctor fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind, travels to the vibrant city of Turin, it is to study with Cesare Lombroso, the world-renowned criminologist. But just hours after his introduction to the unconventional Lombroso, the discovery of a horrifically mutilated body in the nearby Piazza Statuto—and a note that appears to implicate the celebrated criminologist himself—changes everything.

With the help of his fellow apprentice, Ottolenghi; a local investigator, Tullio; and Lombroso’s beautiful but enigmatic housekeeper, Sofia; Murray must put his learning to the test and endeavor to understand the mind of a malevolent serial killer, if he is to stop the rapidly escalating bloodbath and clear the name of his mentor.

Have Lombroso’s many enemies attempted to frame him? Are the notes an accusation or a challenge? And will Lombroso’s own influential theories about criminal behavior hold the keys to Murray catching a cunning and ruthless killer?


This is NOT a quick read- the author gives pretty lengthy descriptions, and while they add to the ambiance and setting, make the book a multiple day read. With more editing, it would have a quicker pace, and be more reader friendly, ala a Dan Brown novel. But if you love historical books and a good mystery, akin to more of the Agatha Christie/ Sherlock Holmes type, you will definitely fall for the story and characters in this book.

About the Author:
Author Diana Bretherick is a former criminal barrister and a criminologist. She lectures in crime and popular culture and criminal law at the University of Portsmouth. Her first novel, City of Devils (published by Orion Books), is an historical thriller set in the Italian city of Turin in 1887, featuring the world’s first criminologist Cesare Lombroso. In 2012 it won the first Good Housekeeping Magazine new novel competition and in 2013 it was selected for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club. She is currently working on a sequel.  Diana lives in Southsea, Hampshire with her husband and a small but extremely destructive cat.

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