The Darkest Sin by D. V. Bishop

The darkest sin is to murder on sacred ground and that is what happens in this book. Set in Renaissance Florence, a man is found naked and stabbed many times in a convent and Cesare Aldo is one of the men assigned to investigate the murder.

Strocchi, another investigator, is looking into the death of one of their colleagues, Meo Cerchi, who was hated by everybody. What he doesn’t know is that he was killed by Aldo after threatening to release the information that Aldo was gay. If he discovers what happened, where will that leave Aldo?

There are of course other intrigues as this twisty story goes backwards and forwards. There is Isabella, Aldo’s half-niece, who is educated at the convent and who is intrigued and enjoying the investigation at the convent whilst hiding there from her arranged marriage. There are the leaders of the church and state courts, always trying to best one another, usually to the detriment of Aldo but who also have secrets locked up in the convent.

Florence during this time is well depicted, you certainly get a feel for the smells and sights of the place, particularly when around Ponte Vecchio with the butchers and fishmongers and the hot weather. You also get an insight into the power of families and why arranged marriages are so important to them. They are contractual deals to ensure the survival of businesses not love matches and this can make people bitter and dangerous as they try to hold on to the status quo or to improve.

An enjoyable story where everybody has a motivation to kill.

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