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Friday, November 18, 2011

A Good Mystery From Italy: "Death in August" by Marco Vichi.

Death in August is the first in a series of books written by Marco Vichi that feature Inspector Franco Bordelli.   This very enjoyable book is a gentle police procedural, almost - but not quite - a cozy mystery.

Death in August is set in Florence, Italy.  It is the summer of 1963, and the weather is hot, humid and miserable.  Everyone has left town for vacation; that is, every one except Inspector Bordelli.  The 50-ish, single, World War II vet is sweating it out in the city.  It's calm at police headquarters until one evening a wealthy, elderly woman is found dead in her home.  Bordelli observes the scene, concludes the death is suspicious, and the investigation begins.

Bordelli's investigation is not a heart pumping thriller or CSI routine.  He interviews people and works the case with his friend the coroner and his protege, Piras.  But the bulk of the book is really about Bordelli himself, a likable, fair, and often funny man who has an eclectic set of friends and relatives.  He reflects often upon his life and experiences in the war.  Some of these reflections are disturbing, pushing the story outside the boundaries of the cozy mystery category.  In the end, however, Bordelli's musings and interviewing solve the mystery.  And along the way, we are well entertained by the delightful book.  

Death in August was  published in Italian in 2002.  The translation into English by Stephen Sartarelli was published this year and released outside the U.S.  For U.S. customers, it is available now on Kindle from Amazon, however the book itself has not yet been released here.  As the new book was unavailable, I purchased my copy on Ebay.

However you get a copy, check out Death in August.  It is highly recommended reading.  

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