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The Killing Room by Christobel Kent

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

The Killing Room, a strange, hidden, bricked-up room, undisturbed for decades, is discovered in an old Florence building now converted into luxury apartments. Ex-policeman Sandro Cellini is touting for work again. This is his fifth adventure but you don’t need to have read the earlier ones to enjoy this. He is a good man, a well fleshed-out character who, now out of the police force, can use unconventional methods of detection. He is hired as security consultant for the building, his predecessor having just been killed. Body number one, then body number two comes hard on his heels and not long after comes a third. Now things get very complicated with complex relationships among the residents and all sorts of murky goings on, all highly intriguing. The Italian atmosphere is lovely, a series well worth delving into.

If you like Christobel Kent you might also like to read books by Michael Dibdin, Michele Giuttari and Asa Harrison.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Christobel Kent’s intuitive Italian sleuth Sandro Cellini is proving to be one of the most distinctive coppers on the crime scene, and readers may feel that the sweltering heat of Florence offers a refreshing change from the frigid temperatures of the current Scandinavian wave. Here, Cellini finds dark secrets behind the beautiful facade of a palazzo in Florence in a case that begins when the palazzo’s head of security is found savagely killed. Earlier Cellini novels signalled that the series was one of the most individual and enjoyable in the field, with the engaging Sandro, struggling to come to terms with a tragedy in his past, a truly winning protagonist. And it is, in fact, the city of Florence itself, so evocatively described by Kent, which provides much of the pleasure here. There is never a sense (as with so many crime novels) that the settings and locales are simply there because they had to be – Kent makes the ancient city a major player in the narrative.
~ Barry Forshaw

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The Killing Room by Christobel Kent

When private investigator Sandro Cellini is invited to attend a glamorous launch party for a luxury residence overlooking the glittering expanse of Florence, he has no idea what he's walking into. Behind the ancient and luxurious facade of Palazzo San Giorgio, there lies a series of terrible secrets; an old torture chamber, hidden for centuries in the bowels of the building, and a much more recent malevolence. The former head of security for this elite development has just died under suspicious circumstances and Sandro finds himself - quite literally - stepping into dead man's shoes. He soon discovers that other unsavoury incidents have tainted the prestigious opening. When one of the residents is found murdered in her room, events begin to spiral out of control. Sandro must work to untangle the complex web of relationships that exists between residents and staff to unmask a deadly killer.


Death, espresso, and political manoeuvering... An ex-cop plying his trade outside the boundaries of normal Italian police procedure. Brooding Italian noir. --Independent on Sunday

Like Dibden's Zen, Cellini is a reluctant inquirer... fascism, the mafia and revolving-door post-war governments have left many secrets that score dark marks on the surface of daily life. Taut and thoughtful mystery that draws on the contrast between location... and the savage passions and politics that lie underneath. --Guardian

About the Author

Christobel Kent

Christobel Kent was born in London and educated at Cambridge. She has lived variously in Essex, London and Italy. Her childhood included several years spent on a Thames sailing barge in Maldon, Essex with her father, stepmother, three siblings and four step-siblings. She now lives in both Cambridge and Florence with her husband and five children.

Click here to read a Q&A with this author.

Photo credit © Charlie Hopkinson

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd July 2014


Christobel Kent

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Atlantic Books


400 pages


Crime / Mystery
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Crime & mystery



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