When Angels Fall

A Benedetti Renaissance Mystery

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
236 Pages
Reviewed on 05/01/2013
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Author Biography

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ioana Marza for Readers' Favorite

Hillary Corby’s “When Angels Fall: A Benedetti Renaissance Mystery” is an absorbing mystery tale set in 15th century Florence. When Emiliano Benedetti, a young physician working at the abbey’s infirmary, finds the dead body of Pope Sixtus’ niece by a river, he is drawn into events that would change his life forever. Women are killed, love affairs blossom and fade, and the dreaded condottieri who are sent to investigate come and go; all this against the atmospheric background of Firenze in da Vinci’s time. Add to this a well-constructed detective story that does not reveal the murderer until the end, sprinkled with examples of the state of medical science in Renaissance Italy (Emiliano is a keen dissectionist) and the result is a book I thoroughly enjoyed.

Hillary Corby’s deep knowledge of Florence shows in many details throughout the book and enables her to create the ambiance convincingly. Hillary had clearly done plenty of research into medical matters in order to describe the occasional scientific details with credibility. There are a few scenes describing dissections or changes of the body in death that are not for the faint-hearted. However, these are not gratuitous. They confer realism, put Emiliano’s profession and interests into perspective as well as conveying the full enormity of the crimes. Such scenes also steer away from any chance of falling into an overly sweet romantic tone, keeping it balanced yet complex and always enjoyable. “When Angels Fall” will appeal to wide audiences, whether you like historical, romantic plots or detective stories. If the title is a clue, the premise has been set for developing a successful series and I would happily read the next installment.


I read this book, When Angels Fall: A Benedetti Renaissance Mystery, very recently and I was really impressed by Ms. Corby, a new face on the Mystery Book scene. The pace was excellent and the characters were people I wanted to know about and travel with as the story flew along. I got a real sense of the period form Ms. Corby's writing style which used language as well as description to take me to that period of time. The plot - involving nobility, church and state - was deftly handled and I really enjoyed the plot twists. It also had the right amount of love interest and spice to humanize the hero and maintain the reader's connection with him. This is definitely a "two thumbs up" read and is recommended for adult lovers of period mystery.

Robert Kelly

When Angels Fall is a tale of murders, mystery, love and intrigue set in Renaissance Florence. The story is set in motion when a young doctor, Emiliano, discovers the murdered body of a well born Florentine woman near the Arno River. She turns out to be the much younger pregnant wife of a well placed official and the niece of the Pope. Her devastated husband announces he is not the father of the child. The people and customs of this beautiful and historical city are brought vividly to life as the story unfolds with Emiliano searching for answers. I bought it to give to a mate, but after taking a sneak peak I decided to read it myself and get another for my friend. Stayed up to finish it and it was time well spent.

Ann Phillip

Step back into the Renaissance era and immerse yourself in Florence, Italy when art, culture and medicine took its first tentative steps forward. Ms. Corby has created a rich set of complex characters, with an expert knowledge of the art, food, and culture of the era. A mystery wrapped around a love story with a surprise ending that will make your head spin.

"When passion is ungoverned it can lead to lies, deceit, and destruction." ~ Signore Benivieni from When Angels Fall.