Death in Florence

Written by Marco Vichi

Death in Florence is the fourth Inspector Bordelli novel, albeit my first exposure to the series. Set in 1966, we see a Florence recovering from World War II but still haunted by the specter of Il Duce and his fascist followers.  One afternoon a young boy vanishes into thin air on his way home from school, and the police can find no clues and have no suspects. Inspector Bordelli, longing for a woman with whom he could share his life, facing retirement, and dwelling on his own experiences in the war, refuses to give up on the boy’s case. The case drags on and on until he finally finds one small clue just as the rains swell the river and the Arno floods the city, knocking out communication and potentially destroying a crime scene.

For those readers looking for an action-packed mystery, this book is not for you. But for those who have wandered the streets of Florence or who want to inhabit another person’s head for a while and to delve into the musings of a dogged detective with a dedication to justice and a desire for a simpler life shared with a beautiful woman and a glass of his favorite wine, this is a rewarding read.  It was a little slow at times, and I didn’t think I needed detailed directions of Bordelli’s movements throughout the city streets, but ultimately the book was satisfying. Indeed, as I approached the end, I couldn’t put it down.