cover image Death in Florence: An Inspector Bordelli Mystery

Death in Florence: An Inspector Bordelli Mystery

Marco Vichi, trans. from the Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. Pegasus Crime (Norton, dist.), $25.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-60598-929-7

The catastrophic flood that devastated Florence in 1966, in which scores of people died and some of the city's greatest artistic treasures were destroyed, serves as the backdrop for Bordelli's absorbing fourth mystery featuring wryly witty Insp. Franco Bordelli (after 2014's Death in Sardinia). Giacomo Pellissari, an "untroubled boy, studious and obedient," disappears on his way home from school one day during a heavy rain. Photos of the 13-year-old in the newspapers and on TV bring no results. Bordelli begins to think Giacomo has been kidnapped by Martians. Much of the book takes place inside Bordelli's head, including reminiscences about WWII, reflections on unattainable women, philosophical ponderings and musings about what he'll have for lunch. Don't expect gore or scientific analysis; Bordelli often intuits rather than deduces. Assistance and insight are supplied by his longtime friends Rosa, a prostitute with a heart of gold, and small-time crook Ennio Botti. The quirkily fascinating personality of Bordelli makes for an entertaining and often thought-provoking mystery. (Oct.)