August 22, 2007

FIRST, NOT BEST:

Magdalen Nabb: Expatriate crime writer whose Marshal Guarnaccia novels detailed the hidden side of Florentine life (Independent, 22 August 2007)

Magdalen Nabb, writer: born Church, Lancashire 16 January 1947; married (one son); died Florence, Italy 18 August 2007.

After a childhood tinged with tragedy, the crime writer and best-selling children's author Magdalen Nabb proved her spirit in her twenties. In 1975 she parted from her husband, upped sticks from her Lancashire home and moved with her young son, Liam, to Florence, although she knew no one there and couldn't speak Italian.

Nabb, creator of the award-winning Josie Smith novels and the television series based on them, never really got the acclaim she deserved for being the first – and arguably the best – of the expatriate writers to set a crime series in the rich soil of Italian politics and society. Her first Marshal Guarnaccia novel, Death of an Englishman, appeared in 1981, years before Michael Dibdin and Donna Leon began with their own series set in Italy.


It is scarcely a criticism to say that her series, though diverting enough, is not the equal of Ms Leon's and Mr. Dibdin's.


Posted by Orrin Judd at August 22, 2007 7:54 AM
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