Review: The Darkest Sin by D. V. Bishop

The Darkest Sin by D. V. Bishop

Timy reviews The Darkest Sin, the second book in the Cesare Aldo historical mystery series by D. V. Bishop.

Review(s) of the previous book in the series: City of Vengeance

About the Book
Series:Cesare Aldo #2
Genre:Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher:Macmillan
Date of Publishing:March 3, 2022
Trigger Warnings:Death, violence, blood
Page count:429

Possible fit for The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge 2024 prompts:

Joker prompt that goes with anything: Now We Are Free

Anywhere Away From HereKiss My Ass
HandwrittenYou Are My Home
PsychoSummer Jam
AddictedNew Song
The MysticSay It
Queen of KingsThe Legend of Mother Swan
Accidentally in LoveThrough Glass
White FlagRoad to Joy
Sob StoryGive That Wolf a Banana
Always HalloweenKill Your Conscience
TherapyGhosts & Monsters
Low LifeChasing Stars
Book Blurb
The Darkest Sin by D. V. Bishop

The Darkest Sin is an atmospheric historical thriller by D. V. Bishop, set in Renaissance Florence and is the sequel to City of Vengeance.

Florence. Spring, 1537.

When Cesare Aldo investigates a report of intruders at a convent in the Renaissance city’s northern quarter, he enters a community divided by bitter rivalries and harbouring dark secrets.

His case becomes far more complicated when a naked man’s body is found deep inside the convent, stabbed more than two dozen times. Unthinkable as it seems, all the evidence suggests one of the nuns must be the killer.

Meanwhile, Constable Carlo Strocchi finds human remains pulled from the Arno that belong to an officer of the law missing since winter. The dead man had many enemies, but who would dare kill an official of the city’s most feared criminal court?

As Aldo and Strocchi close in on the truth, identifying the killers will prove more treacherous than either of them could ever have imagined . . .

Song of the Book

Since I decided to go with Maneskin for the first book, I’m sticking to them, although this might become harder as time goes on, lol. Anyway, for The Darkest Sin I’ll go with In Nome Del Padre.

Review

As with City of Vengeance, I opted to read The Darkest Sin in audiobook format, which is currently the fastest way for me to catch up with the series before I finally get to jump on my ARC of book 4. It helps that the narrator, Mark Meadows does an excellent job bringing the story and the characters to life. I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning to these audiobooks for rereads.

The Darkest Sin is the second book in the Cesare Aldo series, which sees us back in Florence. We are a few months after the events in City of Vengeance, the year is 1537 and there is still plenty of sin for our dear friends to investigate about. Aldo, for instance, finds himself entangled in church politics when a man is found dead and naked in a convent. Which is not a good look for Santa Maria Magdalena and its abbess, that’s for sure. Especially since there are factions within the convent – some would prefer the convent to be closed, and some would like to continue offering help to the poor and a place for wealthy daughters to learn. Daughters such as Isabella Goudi, who happens to be Aldo’s step-niece, which in turn forces Aldo to face his estranged family after not talking to them for years. There is no lack of suspects, as quite a few of the sisters would have reasons to get rid of Bernardo Galeri. A man not many would mourn. Aldo has to use most of his cunning to get himself in a position to freely investigate and even then, he also needs luck to be on his side to figure out what went down.

While Aldo is occupied elsewhere, Strocchi gets a chance to visit his hometown with his new wife. Luck would have it that he finds the body of a missing officer, Cerci, and thus has the chance of a lifetime – he has to find out who killed him in order to earn the position of an officer instead of a constable. The odds are against him as there is no evidence, no witnesses of what happened, while there are plenty of people with a motivation. Cerci was an even bigger bastard than Galeri, and that’s saying something. But Strocchi is young and ambitious, full of ideals and so he throws himself at the investigation. Little does he know about the consequences he has to face at the end.

Both of these investigations are fun to follow for different reasons – in one case we already know who is the culprit and as the truth is getting nearer, one can’t help but keep hoping it’s not going to end up having a disastrous outcome. It’s interesting to find yourself rooting for someone not to get caught, and yet… For me, in that plotline were a shitton of tension and anticipation and so many emotions. In the other case, we don’t know the culprit, but we have a select number of suspects. And the excitement comes from the possibility of whether Aldo will be able to unearth all the secrets – and there are secrets aplenty. Who would have thought convents are such interesting places? Bishop waves the threads masterfully, and it’s not until almost the end that we figure out who is responsible. I love it when a mystery novel keeps me guessing until the end. I just wish he picked some different names for the novices, because sometimes it was hard to keep all the Marias straight in my head.

My only complaint about The Darkest Sin is that I would love to see a bit more character-building in the works. Like, I get both Aldo and Strocchi’s personalities and I like them, but both of their respective relationships happen mostly off-screen. And/or way too fast. I really would have liked to explore those more in-depth. I think it would have added more to their characters and would be easier to connect with them. Again, I like these characters, but as of yet, I’m not super connected to them emotionally. But since I enjoy all other aspects of the books, I’m not complaining much.

The Darkest Sin keeps the Cesare Aldo series going strong. As we follow the characters, the tension keeps growing and the stakes are getting ever higher. As Bishop explores different mystery tropes and fits them into 16th century Florence, I keep falling more and more in love with this series. I can’t wait to see where the next book will take Aldo and us, the readers.

Our Judgement
Praise Their Name - 5 crowns

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