Death and the Olive Grove: An Inspector Bordelli Mystery

Overview

"Set in Florence in the summer of 1963, Vichi's stellar first in a new mystery series introduces endearingly melancholic Inspector Bordelli. Vichi delivers a plausible solution worthy of a golden age crime novel. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this flawed hero." - Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
April 1964, and the cruelest month is breeding bad weather and worse news. And plenty of disturbing news is coming to Florence detective Inspector Bordelli.
Bordelli's ...

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Overview

"Set in Florence in the summer of 1963, Vichi's stellar first in a new mystery series introduces endearingly melancholic Inspector Bordelli. Vichi delivers a plausible solution worthy of a golden age crime novel. Readers will look forward to seeing more of this flawed hero." - Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
April 1964, and the cruelest month is breeding bad weather and worse news. And plenty of disturbing news is coming to Florence detective Inspector Bordelli.
Bordelli's friend, Casimiro, insists he's discovered the body of a man in a field above Fiesole. Bordelli races to the scene, but doesn't find any sign of a corpse.
Only a couple of days later, a little girl is found at Villa Ventaglio. She has been strangled, and there is a horrible bite mark on her belly. Then another young girl is found murdered, with the same macabre signature.
And meanwhile Casimiro has disappeared without a trace.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Vichi’s compelling follow-up to Death in August (2012), set in 1964, the odd and diminutive informer Casimiro comes to Florence and tells a strange story to his friend Inspector Bordelli: he has found a dead body in Fiesole, near a closely guarded villa that belongs to a mysterious foreigner. The doubtful but dutiful Bordelli fails to find evidence of Casimiro’s claim, but when more than one little girl turns up dead and mutilated, the inspector thinks that the informer may have stumbled across something sinister that implicates someone from Bordelli’s past. As the investigation proceeds and the inspector deals gently with the grief-stricken mothers of the victims, it becomes clear that the evil of the Nazis casts a long shadow and that Bordelli has his own scars—and secrets—from WWII. The author’s smooth style, believable characters, and astute recognition of the multiple layers involved in a crime engage the reader throughout. (July)
The Guardian
“Discovering a new detective is a bit like making a new friend. A real find for anyone who likes their crime novels atmospheric, discursive, humorous, and thought-provoking.”
The Times (London)
“Bordelli is stubborn, womanless, cynical and impatient,but strangely appealing.”
Library Journal
Florence's Chief Inspector Franco Bordelli is no stranger to crime, having served in Italy's notorious San Marco brigade during World War II. Initially curious about a cagey German tenant at a local villa that his friend Casimiro Robetti (a dwarf) has pointed out, Bordelli is quickly diverted to a more intense and sickening investigation. A child is strangled to death, and there are no obvious clues. Pressure mounts to find this crazed killer when another child victim is found. Meanwhile, Robetti goes missing; when Bordelli checks, he finds his friend has been killed. Bordelli is perplexed by the two cases. Inquiring further, he finds a known Nazi hunter in the neighborhood, and, at that point, the dots begin to connect. While initially giving off a desultory vibe, the chain-smoking Bordelli combines a compassionate touch with dedicated police work. VERDICT Vichi's excellent second title (after Death in August) in a noteworthy police procedural series captures Italy's postwar fatigue, still palpable in the mid-1960s. Michael Dibdin's protagonist Aurelio Zen comes to mind, with Bordelli fitting the antihero mold.
Kirkus Reviews
Inspector Franco Bordelli (Death in August, 2012) tracks a serial killer as only he can. When Casimiro reports a dead body he found while foraging for vegetables in Fiesole, Florence's Inspector Bordelli thinks it's worth a trip into the neighboring olive groves to check out the dwarf's story. But the only body that turns up is Casimiro's, stuffed in a suitcase in his shabby room. Bummed out by his friend's undignified end, Bordelli retreats to his office to smoke too many cigarettes and ponder the unfairness of life. Meanwhile, someone kills 7-year-old Valentina Panerai and dumps her body in the park, her small corpse left with ferocious bite marks on her belly. Bordelli smokes more cigarettes and wonders why he doesn't have a woman to kiss him on the mouth when he gets home. Eventually, he interviews the victim's mother but finds no reason her daughter should have been killed. His colleague, young Piras, complains about his smoking, and Bordelli reminisces about his days with Piras' father, Gavino, in the San Marco brigade. More little girls are killed, each small corpse marked with the trademark bites. Past and present collide when Bordelli trails a suspect down Via della Vigna Nova and finds his old friend, Nazi hunter Dr. Levi. It takes Bordelli many more cigarettes plus several evenings of making love to Dr. Levi's beautiful young assistant, Milena, to sort out the grisly case. As the corpses pile up, Bordelli's ennui gets increasingly hard to sit through, even though it's only his second outing.
Andrea Camilleri
“Over the course of his police procedurals, Vichi shows us ever more secret and dark sides to an otherwise sunny and open city. But his happiest creation remains the character of Inspector Bordelli, a disillusioned anti-hero who is difficult to forget.”
The New York Times
“Inspector Bordelli has a lot on his mind. He wonders why he’s never found a great woman, he’s got to cut back on his cigarettes, and he should probably figure out who killed that wealthy older lady in her 17th-century villa.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781605984483
  • Publisher: Pegasus
  • Publication date: 7/6/2013
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 486,673
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Marco Vichi'snovel Death in Florence won the Scerbanenco, Rieti, and Camaiore prizes. His novelsDeath in August and Death and the Olive Grove are available from Pegasus Crime.

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