cover image A Florentine Death

A Florentine Death

Michele Giuttari, trans. from the Italian by Howard Curtis. Abacus (IPG, dist.), $12.95 trade paper (360p) ISBN 978-0-349-12006-5

The two faces of Florence—one a beautiful courtesan offering its bounty of fine art, the other jealously guarding secret plots and betrayals—dominate Giuttari’s strong debut, a crime novel that reflects the author’s expertise as a former police chief. Chief Supt. Michele Ferrara, after 20 years on Florence’s police force, remains in love with both his wife, Petra, and his adopted city, which has taught him “evil, and only evil, is immortal and never fades.” After receiving an anonymous threatening letter announcing the start of a new series of homicides, Ferrara gets on the case, though he remains haunted by the earlier unsolved “Monster of Florence” murders that have made him suspect political collusion and corruption. An honest, compassionate cop, Ferrara patiently works his way to a tortuous and shocking solution, providing a stable focal point in a city “rotting under the weight of appearances,” a microcosm, perhaps, of all 21st-century civilization. (Oct.)