The Dark Heart of Florence (Lady Emily Mysteries, 15)

Written by Tasha Alexander
Review by Ellen Jaquette

The latest installment in the Lady Emily series finds the clever and curious titular character in Florence, investigating a string of burglaries and a recent murder somehow connected to her stepdaughter’s Italian estate. Lady Emily and her friend, Celine, travel all over the city to uncover a complicated web of secrets woven throughout Florence’s history and architecture. These investigations relate to an ancient buried treasure connected to the recent murder at the palazzo; flashbacks to the life of the former occupant provide an emotionally compelling backstory to this infamous treasure. Meanwhile, Lady Emily’s husband, Royal Agent Colin, and his colleague, Darius, embark on a dangerous political mission. Are these two mysteries somehow connected?

Readers familiar with or interested in Florence will treasure the dual narratives, each offering a satisfying window into the city’s history in both 1903, as tensions between Britain and Germany escalate, and the end of the 1400s with the fall of the Medici rule in Florence. The likable and entertaining main characters provide never-ending clever banter and keep the story moving to a satisfying conclusion. Recommended for fans of the series, though any reader with an interest in the setting or desire for a fun and quick mystery will enjoy this ride. Those unfamiliar with the time period or Florence will still find a satisfying escape with this quick-paced and intriguing mystery, and new readers to the series are welcome to jump right in.