‘The Darkest Sin’ by D.V. Bishop | @davidbishop @panmacmillan

Author : D.V. Bishop
Title : The Darkest Sin
Series : Cesare Aldo #2
Pages : 420
Publisher : Pan Macmillan
Publication date : March 3, 2022


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 . . .


I knew as soon as I read City of Vengeance last year that I had found a new favourite series and The Darkest Sin catapulted itself straight onto my list of most anticipated books of 2022. A few on that list have been awful misses already but this one is definitely not one of them.

First up, you should definitely read City of Vengeance first. Not only would you then get a better picture of the complicated character that is Cesare Aldo, but events in The Darkest Sin do follow up from events in the previous book. It’s not necessarily a case of ending up so horribly confused that you won’t be able to enjoy this one but I promise you, that when you’ve finished you’re going to go back to read the first book anyway so you may as well start there. 💁🏼‍♀️

The Darkest Sin focusses on two crimes that need investigating. In Florence, the naked and very dead body of a man is found in a convent. Technically, this isn’t a job for the Otto, the criminal court Cesare Aldo works for. Anything that happens in the convent is for the bishop to deal with. But since a man of influence asked Aldo’s help in another matter and he just happens to be there already … what’s a man of the court to do?

Meanwhile, in a village along the Arno, Strocchi discovers the remains of an officer of the law who went missing in Florence during winter. Strocchi knows this man had many enemies, as do those who read the first book. Strocchi can’t even begin to imagine who would have dared to kill this man though. Readers of the first book already know and loyalties are tested all over the place. For Strocchi, this investigation couldn’t possibly be more frustrating as he seems to just go from one dead end to the next. However, the author gives him a chance to shine here and I absolutely approved. I really like the character of Strocchi, he’s someone you want all the good things for, someone to root for. That’s exactly why this investigation left me conflicted because I wanted him to succeed but I also didn’t. Those who have read the first book will know why. If I still haven’t convinced you to read City of Vengeance, I don’t know what more I can do!

Aldo’s investigation is a complicated one and all the evidence points to one to the nuns themselves. This convent is divided. Some of the nuns are hiding secrets, some are entangled in bitter rivalries. While it should be a safe place for women, it’s really not. Men are still in charge, abbess or not. Men who ultimately try and decide how this convent should be run, men who make the decision on its future without a care for nuns themselves or the community they serve, men who find their way inside for whatever reason. A lot of research must have gone into these chapters dealing with convent life and I was absolutely fascinated. As it was in real life, some of the nuns were sent there by their families, others chose the life as a way to escape another life. Honestly, men don’t come out of this book looking all too well.

D.V. Bishop does an excellent job of bringing Florence to life. From the divide between the wealthy and the poor, from the power of the men ruling city and church to the (seemingly) submissive women, this beautiful city has many dark corners and the reader definitely gets a feel for those. Florence is a bustling city, an important city and like so many others it is ruled by greed. Just like its predecessor, The Darkest Sin oozes atmosphere. If you close your eyes, you can almost see the view from Ponte Vecchio, watching the Arno slice through the city. You can almost hear the sound of feet walking along the cobbled roads, or smell the fish at the markets.

I couldn’t at all figure out who was responsible for the death of the naked man in the convent. I did see where Strocchi’s path would lead and I wasn’t entirely sure I liked it, mostly because I like his character. May have mentioned that before. The Darkest Sin also reveals a bit more information about Aldo’s past, but I’m sure there is plenty more to discover. The conclusion most definitely left me wondering what’s next and I can’t wait of find out!

Historical crime fiction is absolutely my thing, combining as it does my two favourite genres. There are some truly good series out there and let me tell you, the Cesare Aldo one is definitely one of the best. I hate to tell you this, but if you’re not reading this series you’re missing out. Please go forth and fix the error of your ways. You can thank me later.

The Darkest Sin is out now!

Amazon UK | Bookshop.org | Goldsboro | Hive UK | Waterstones

  2 comments for “‘The Darkest Sin’ by D.V. Bishop | @davidbishop @panmacmillan

  1. April 8, 2022 at 10:50 am

    You’ll be pleased to know I finally caught up with the first one in this series just last week 🙂 And now there’s yet another one to add to my TBR! xx

    Liked by 2 people

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