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Crime novel set in Florence and Sardinia (an Inspector Bordelli mystery…)

28th December 2014

Death in Sardinia by Marco Vichi – crime novel set in Florence and Sardinia.

IMG_3284A book that starts on the 12th December 1965, and ends on the 31st December 1965 – so an ideal one for me to have read over the Christmas period. And a book with a slightly misleading / abbreviated title… there are actually two murders, one in Florence and one in Sardinia. The murder in Florence is investigated by Inspector Bordelli, and the one in Sardinia by Sergeant Piras – his assistant who is on the island living with his parents whilst recovering from a leg injury sustained in the course of duty. The Florence murder is of a very unpleasant loan shark, and the Sardinian one of a farmer who lived alone and apparently committed suicide.

The structure of the book is intriguing and, perhaps, a little confusing. The chapter titles are the dates and within each chapter both stories are told – switching quite suddenly from Bordelli / Florence to Piras / Sardinia and back again. You have to be on your toes!

Death in Sardinia is not a page turner. It proceeds at a leisurely pace and we are introduced to the prime suspects quite early, and obviously, in each story. It is, though, a brilliant read for TripFiction – very atmospheric in its description of both Florence and Sardinia (and their respective customs) in the period leading up to Christmas. Food and drink are key, and brilliantly described. And it is also strong on geography with fascinating details of both locations (although a couple of maps would have been a useful addition). The reader feels very much involved in each place.

Bordelli is in the mold of many fictional detectives, a man with lots of weaknesses but with a great crime solving record. He tries to give up smoking (on almost every page), and drinks and eats too much. His best friends are work colleagues and an assembly of ex prostitutes and just-out-of-gaol burglars – but all with ‘hearts of gold’. He worries about his age (55) and how out of touch he is becoming with the younger generation. Piras is the son of a man that Bordelli fought with in the anti-fascist brigades in the war – who harbours strong anti-fascist feelings himself. Although he has moved to Florence for work he is, in many ways, a very traditional Sardinian.

Death in Sardinia is a delightful read that offers a great deal of insight into its two locations and its characters. But, as a stand alone mystery, it is probably lacking a little in pace and denouement. It all depends exactly what you are looking for but it is very definitely a book that I enjoyed. It is the first of the Inspector Bordelli mysteries that I have read – and I do not intend for it to be the last.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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  1. User: aditi3991

    Posted on: 29/12/2014 at 9:23 am

    Splendid review 🙂


  2. User: Leila Benhamida

    Posted on: 28/12/2014 at 7:57 pm

    Intriguing! I never heard of this author.


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