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The Dark Heart of Florence

Lady Emily #15
Dark Heart of Florence.jpg

In 1903, tensions between Britain and Germany are starting to loom over Europe, something that has not gone unnoticed by Lady Emily and her husband, Colin Hargreaves. An agent of the Crown, Colin carries the weight of the Empire, but his focus is drawn to Italy by a series of burglaries at his daughter’s palazzo in Florence—burglaries that might have international ramifications. He and Emily travel to Tuscany where, soon after their arrival, a stranger is thrown to his death from the roof onto the marble palazzo floor.

Colin’s trusted colleague and fellow agent, Darius Benton-Smith, arrives to assist Colin, who insists their mission must remain top secret. Finding herself excluded from the investigation, Emily secretly launches her own clandestine inquiry into the murder, aided by her spirited and witty friend, Cécile. They soon discover that the palazzo may contain a hidden treasure dating back to the days of the Medici and the violent reign of the fanatic monk, Savonarola—days that resonate in the troubled early twentieth century, an uneasy time full of intrigue, duplicity, and warring ideologies.

Emily and Cécile race to untangle the cryptic clues leading them through the Renaissance city, but an unimagined danger follows closely behind. And when another violent death puts Emily directly in the path of a killer, there’s much more than treasure at stake…

"Alexander effortlessly slips an enormous amount of Florentine history into a narrative that offers a loving portrait of the city and just the right amount of dashing derring-do. This series remains as fresh as ever."-Publisher's Weekly

"Alexander’s durable heroine returns to Italy in 1903 in a tale of murder, espionage, and hidden treasure...Historical background adds depth to a complex, exciting mystery." -Kirkus Reviews

"Thrilling...Lady Emily and Colin continue to be formidable investigatory partners, and Cécile’s flirtation with a local librarian adds a dash of romance. Alexander brings both early Renaissance and Edwardian-era Florence to life, with well-researched references to Florentine history, literature, and art." -Booklist


"The Florentine setting, both in the Renaissance and early Edwardian eras, is explored in rich detail, allowing the reader to travel vicariously through Mina’s and Emily’s eyes. With gothic chills, laugh-out-loud humor and international intrigue, these...mysteries whisk the reader off to the past and ensnare them with carefully crafted plots and plenty of suspense."-BookPage

"Alexander’s research, attention to detail, and passionate characters make The Dark Heart of Florence an intelligent and sophisticated page-turner."-Ellery Queen

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