This well-written, very entertaining book would be a great accompaniment to any trip to Italy. Set in 1504, Justin Ellis’s whodunnit/crime novel centres on aspiring artist Donato’s difficulties in getting on in life.

Even getting past the Florence city walls is challenging for him. The book describes his search for patronage and how he gets into various scrapes with both law and church (with a bit of night-time naughties thrown in).

While some historical fiction can read like a guidebook, Ellis, who runs niche London firm iLaw, avoids that pitfall. Even so there is a sprinkling of famous names and art works, such as Machiavelli, Savonarola (and his Bonfire of the Vanities), Michelangelo’s sculpture of David and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Machiavelli turns out to be quite charming, and I liked the grumpy Michelangelo. Moving at a good pace, the book is well researched and relies on historical incidents which are well evidenced.

Author: Justin Ellis

£5.99, CreateSpace

Criminal lawyers will be interested in contemporary police investigation methods and prosecution practices, as well as arrangements for the rehabilitation of prisoners (there were none!). The brutality of the period is well covered, as is the constant bickering and struggle between states.

I look forward to Ellis’ next novel.

David Pickup is a partner at Pickup and Scott Solicitors, Aylesbury