In the magical and historically rich city of Siena, Italy, old paintings are as common as cobblestones. But what if some of those paintings are forgeries? And what if your employers at Restauro Lorenzetti, a respected firm of art conservators, might be smuggling antiquities?
After colleague and roommate Ernst Mann is found dead in the street below their apartment balcony, Flora Garibaldi suspects her bosses are crooks. The Italian police, after ruling Flora innocent of murder, persuade her to spy on her employers. Flora is trapped between the competing demands of the Lorenzettis: genial Beppe, sulky Pietro, and hunky and amorous Marco.
Flora thinks Marco is being used by his family to divert police attention and generate income by replicating Greek sculpture. Marco’s latest work resembles a controversial, supposedly ancient sculpture purchased by a California museum. Will Marco’s statue be sold as a legitimate, museum-grade copy, or as a Greek “masterpiece?” Flora’s emotional turmoil grows as she works to protect Marco, avenge Ernst, and fight her growing attraction to policeman Vittorio Bernini.
Burnt Siena is a suspenseful mystery combining a spectacular Italian setting with complicated art historical dilemmas. The story of Flora Garibaldi and the colorful Lorenzetti family will take the listener on a labyrinthine journey while probing family and professional loyalties that no amount of yellowed varnish can hide.
What members say
Thank you so much to Carrie Coello, narrator, for gifting me a copy of the audiobook! Carrie is a fantastic narrator.
Burnt Siena is a YA or New Adult, cozy-mystery. I love a good cozy especially this time of the year. Flora Garibaldi is an art history graduate who starts her career as an art restorer in a family run business in Siena, Italy. Flora's roommate and co-worker, Ernst is found dead outside of her apartment.
The author does a fantastic job describing Italy and the how art restoration is completed. She clearly has done her research. However, the book itself doesn't work. I finished the book because it was on audio and I enjoy the narrator. If it was a physical copy, I would not have finished it.
Flora and the police immediately decide that the family who runs the art restoration business are the suspects in the death of Ernst. There is zero indication that the family should be implicated and there is an immediate assumption that the family must be doing illegal business and that is the motive. I think that the book would have been so much better without a murder. It really wasn't necessary to the book. The author could have had Flora discover illegal activities within the business and moved forward from there. As another reviewer said, there we quite a few discrepancies, such as ordering pizza with arugula and then describing all the toppings without arugula, but having basil.
A meticulous editing job on this book could really do wonders for this book.
- Kindle Customer
Murder Mystery with the Flavors of Italy
Title: Burnt Siena ( A Flora Garibaldi Art History Mystery
Author: Sarah Wisseman
Narrator: Carrie Coello
I was gifted this audiobook in exchange for my honest review. Gifted by Carrie Coello @Elderberrytales
When Flora comes home from work and finds Ernst Mann, her colleague, room-mate, and romantic interest has been murdered she is determined to find out who killed him. She’s a half Italian - American living in Siena, Italy, working for a respected firm of art conservators, the Lorenzettis. The police have long suspected the Lorenzetti Family of smuggling, and enlist Flora ‘s help on the case. Flora is more interested in catching the murderer of Ernst Mann, and stopping anyone who may be guilty of passing off forgeries as originals in the art community. She quickly finds herself in dangerous situations, being stalked in the night, and falling for the handsome policeman, Vittorio Bernini. She is willing to do just about anything to get to the truth.
Rating: ⅗ stars
Narration: ⅘ stars
If you’ve ever wanted to visit Italy, you should listen to this audio-book. The descriptions of the Piazza del Campo will not disappoint. You can almost smell the garlic and taste the wine, feel the cobblestone street beneath your feet as you listen to Carrie Coello’s narration, the descriptions are beautiful and thorough. Her accent on some of the Italian phrases and names will make you swoon.
The story itself is more art history and restoration lesson that action filled mystery. While the characters were well developed and interesting, the pacing on the main story was very slow. I just didn’t feel the edge of my seat curiosity that I love in a good mystery. I thought Flora spent entirely too much time eating for someone who was on the hunt for a murderer or at one point even fearing for her life. I could have done without a lot of the food descriptions, they felt like unnecessary filler. Overall though, it was a good story about ancient art, history, and deceit. I’d recommend this for someone who loves all things Italian, or just wants to read a murder mystery with the flavors of Italy.