First Sentence: The week that school opens for the autumn term is as bad a Christmas.
An older woman asks the Marshal to look for her 45-year-old son, missing for two weeks and his own son is having problems in school. When pieces of Lulu turn up in plastic garbage bags, Guarnaccia is assigned to lead the murder investigation. With the assistance of his Captain's man, Ferrini, the Marshal is introduced to Florence's transsexual community to find a killer and save an innocent man's life.
In many ways, this is a book about those on the outside; children teased at school, immigrants whose lives were intolerable in their native lands yet find themselves abused in a place they took refuge, those emotionally abused and those whose sexual preferences do not conform.
Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia doesn't feel he fits in; he is big, clumsy, and allergic to the sun, has always been told he is a dreamer and never feels as smart or clever as those around him. He loves his family yet is uncomfortable showing or expressing his emotions.
Even Guarnaccia's Captain views him as ''none too bright and far from articulate but there was no getting away from the fact that he didn't miss much and that the quieter he got, the nearer he was to whatever he was after.' It's nice to have a protagonist who is not handsome and macho, but has insecurities as we all do.
While some may choose not to read this book because of the subject matter, that would be a shame. Ms. Nabb introduces us to a cross-section of the transgender community in a sensitive and non-sensational, non-judgmental manner establishing back stories for each of the characters, individualizing them.
Nabb, once again, takes us to a new area of Florence. Beyond providing a sense of physical place, for part of the book, she takes the weather and makes it an element that is almost another character.
The plot is engrossing, emotional, tragic and poignant. I applaud Nabb for not employing a clichéd ending. Each book in this series has, so far, been better than the last. This is no exception. The impact has stayed with me far beyond the final page.
THE MARSHAL'S OWN CASE (Pol Proc-Marshal Guarnaccia-Florence, Italy-Cont) ' Ex
Nabb, Magdalen ' 7th in series
Scribners, ©1990, US Hardcover ' ISBN: 0684192012