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Book number 3 in the Armstrong and Oscar cozy crime series is set in and around the incomparable city of Florence. If you look on the map, you’ll see that Florence is quite near the top of the boot (if you think of Italy as looking like a boot) and it is bordered to the north and east by the Apennines and to the south by the rolling hills of Chianti. Florence is the capital of the region of Tuscany, famous throughout the world for its olive groves, vineyards, spectacular old villas and cypress trees.

Years ago I used to live and work in Italy and I had the great good fortune to be offered a job running an English language school right in the centre of Florence. Every day, going to work, I walked past the Duomo, fighting my way through the crowds of tourists. Nowadays the wonderful old cathedral and the rest of the centro storico are still there but the crowds have increased even more. I love the city and its inhabitants (not to mention the food and drink) and I hope that this shines through in this new book.

Florence is famous the world over for instantly recognisable treasures like the Ponte Vecchio or Michelangelo’s famous statue of David. It’s a city packed full of medieval and Renaissance gems, and one of the things I love about it is that it’s not too big. You can easily walk from one side of the historic centre to the other in half an hour (crowds permitting). On your way, almost every building, every narrow winding street, every stone-paved piazza tells a story and offers architectural and artistic delights.

In this book, Murder in Florence, the city has now become home to Dan Armstrong’s new venture. After 30 years as a detective with the murder squad at Scotland Yard in London, Dan has settled in Italy, buying himself a little house in the hills outside Florence where he lives with his faithful four-legged sidekick, Oscar the black Labrador. Dan’s new business sees the creation of: Dan Armstrong Private Investigations.

Life as a PI isn’t always glamorous but it looks as though his luck has changed when he’s approached by a Hollywood film crew, currently making a movie in the city, to investigate death threats they’ve been receiving. What’s unusual about these threats is that they are fired at the actors and crew attached to arrows. As the irascible film producer in the book puts it: “What is this? Robin fricking Hood?” Dan, ably assisted by Oscar, set out to find who’s behind the threatening arrows before somebody gets hurt. Alas, things take a turn for the worse and before long he’s helping the police to investigate not only death threats but the murder of one of the film crew.

I’m having a lot of fun writing these cozy crime mysteries. After years of writing romance, it’s liberating to start killing people! Seriously, I find that this change of genre has been reinvigorating and hopefully the pleasure I get from writing these books can in some small way communicate itself to the reader.

I really hope you enjoy this next instalment in the Dan and Oscar series and, as always, do, please, let me know what you think.

You can start reading your copy of Murder in Florence here:

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