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Death in August (Il commissario Bordelli #1)

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  409 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Florence, summer 1963. Inspector Bordelli is one of the few policemen left in the deserted city. He spends his days on routine work, and his nights tormented by the heat and mosquitoes.

Suddenly one night, a telephone call gives him a new sense of purpose: the suspected death of a wealthy Signora. Bordelli rushes to her hilltop villa, and picks the locks. The old woman is
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Hardcover, 201 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published January 18th 2002)
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A Room with a View by E.M. ForsterThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantThe Enchantress of Florence by Salman RushdieThe King's Agent by Donna Russo MorinThe Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
Books Set in Florence
43rd out of 66 books — 31 voters
Camera con vista by E.M. ForsterInferno by Dan BrownEutanasia di un amore by Giorgio SavianeLa costanza della ragione by Vasco PratoliniCronache di poveri amanti by Vasco Pratolini
Romanzi ambientati a Firenze
24th out of 31 books — 4 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 886)
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Caroline
I found the first bit of this book banal - so much so I debated giving up on it, but I'm so glad I didn't....because after that it picked up, and was thoroughly enjoyable.

Inspector Bordelli is not the svelte and dashing Lothario one might expect of an Italian detective. Rather he smokes a lot, he sweats a lot, and he drives an old Volkswagon which backfires a lot. This is Florence in 1963. It's August, and it is hot. He is 53 years old. At night he can't sleep and he gets bitten by mosquitoes.
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Tony
DEATH IN AUGUST. (2012). Marco Vichi. ****.
This is the first novel I’ve read by this Italian author, and, as far as I can tell, the first to be translated into English although he has written at least eleven other books. Vichi was born in Florence, and this detective novel is set there. Our hero is Inspector Bordelli, a fiftyish single man who is his own man with his own opinions. He is constantly being rebuked by his superiors for being too easy on criminals. In fact, some of his best friends
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Louise
Like many detective series (Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, etc), the characters in this story are what make it memorable. The mystery is not particularly shocking, nor is the method the Inspector uses to arrive at the solution. However, I enjoyed reading about the characters Inspector Bordelli meets along the way, although Inspector Bordelli himself is a bit banal.

There were a few things that rankled with me: I found the sex scene unnecessary and borderline inappropriate. Also, there's a momen
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Italo Italophiles
Death in August is a book with an identity crisis: it is a psychological novel dressed up as a police procedural but marketed as a cozy mystery novel. The original Italian books, less bound by genre, have dark covers reflecting the dark themes in the series. The English translations offered as Kindle editions sport cozy mystery watercolor covers with a nostalgic tint that completely misrepresent the books' contents.

The series is set in the past, in the 1960s to be precise, and it is set there f
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Nancy
Interesting and unexpected style. I don't know if it's the translation, but the only other times I've encountered this style of writing, the books were categorized as magical realism. Perhaps that suits here as well, because the mystery seems primarily a vehicle for presenting the Inspector's recovered memories of sexual abuse as a child and traumatic events as a soldier in WWII Italy, as well as his relationships with his assorted and unusual friends. Being damaged as he is, coping with PTSD ca ...more
Pauline
I got the feeling this book was written by two different people. I loved the detail of the settings and the weather. The depiction of the flies and the stifling heat really made me feel hot and irratable. I did feel as if I could be there.
Yet the obvious mistakes such as the mechanic popping the bonnet and fixing the engine...in a Beetle. The old lady who adored her cat so much she would make detailed provision in her will and leave it to her brother who adored mice so much he gave them all name
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Nancy Oakes
The first installment in Marco Vichi's series featuring Inspector Bordelli of Florence, Death in August takes its reader back to the 1960s (1963 to be exact), and a very hot and mosquito-laden summer. Pretty much everyone has left town for the seaside, but someone has to man the store, so Bordelli stays behind. He is soon called to the scene of a rather odd death -- an elderly woman has been found dead in her bed, and the doctor says that she died to an asthma attack, brought on by a severe alle ...more
Miles
Florence, summer 1963. Inspector Bordelli is one of the few policemen left in the deserted city. He spends his days on routine work, and his nights tormented by the heat and mosquitoes.

Suddenly one night, a telephone call gives him a new sense of purpose: the suspected death of a wealthy Signora. Bordelli rushes to her hilltop villa, and picks the locks. The old woman is lying on her bed - apparently killed by an asthma attack, though her medicine has been left untouched.

With the help of his you
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Larraine
The crime genre has been experiencing an influx of European writers that have been translated into English. Most of them have been from the Nordic countries and other Northern European countries. Now we've been treated to an Italian author who brings that mix of irony, cynicism and romanticism to the crime genre that seems to be part of the Italian tradition.



This is the first of three books the author has published in Italy and the first that was translated into English. We meet Inspector Borde
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E
This book is a strange beast - not much "mystery" to the murder, not much "procedure" to the police procedural, lots of shared meals and cigarettes and stories of Italy during WII. Reading this book is rather like my memories of riding Italian trains in long-ago summers: hot, fuggy with tobacco smoke, slow to get started, late to arrive, moving at its own pace, seemingly going nowhere as it winds through lovely landscapes dotted with charming no-name villages, and packed full of enough eccentric ...more
Princessofwails
If you can't get to Italy, the next best thing is surely to read about it. I enjoy a good 'whodunnit', and there are several authors published who allow me to combine the two. Donna Leon is the obvious one!

Marco Vichi is new to me, but I'm enjoying those books of the Bordelli series which have so far been translated into English. The translator is the talented Stephen Sartarelli, who does such an excellent job of translating the Montalbano series of Andrea Camilleri.

The hero is stubborn & cy
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Vanessab
Overall I did enjoy this and will read more by the author. It took a while to get into. I often find novels which have been translated somewhat stilted. This is particularly true of some of the Swedish thrillers and the Zen novel. However, although there were some moments which jarred, most of the book flowed well. The plot is fairly simple, but the novel's strength lies in the wonderful descriptions and the larger than life characters. They are not caricatures and are believable. The descriptio ...more
Aleksandra
E' un giallo, ma non troppo - il mistero centrale si riconduce piuttosto all'indovinello logico che all'intrico (non chi, ma piuttosto: come, per di piu'l'enigma risulta abbastanza assurdo). La forza del libro sta nel dipingere una citta' avvolta nel caldo infernale, invece i personaggi sono molto schematici, bianco-neri e semplicemente non troppo convincenti. Se non si sapesse che la storia e' ambientata negli anni Sessanta, sarebbe difficile dirlo, perche' il fattore del tempo non viene usato. ...more
Judith Starkston
Set in Florence in 1963 this murder mystery offers the delights and peculiarities of Italy. As the city melts in August heat, Inspector Bordelli languidly uncovers who killed a wealthy signora in her villa, all while consuming delicious food, copious alcohol and cigarettes, and pondering philosophically. The personality of Bordelli holds most of our interest—single, lonely, haunted by his experiences in WWII, professionally well-respected, and beloved by the petty criminals he’s befriended. On s ...more
Monica
Oh goody - a new Italian detective series with an idiosyncratic protagonist who has an unusual group of friends and a fairly well developed sense of irony. Inspector Bordelli is one of the few working people left in Florence in the steaming August of 1963. He's called out to the death - maybe murder, maybe not - of an elderly woman who lived alone in a crumbling villa. She has a brother and two nephews. the presumed heirs, who might have a motive for helping her to die, but it appears to be an a ...more
Elizabeth
If you like reading about a group of people sitting around and telling stories, then you'll like this book. It's charming. It's also a mystery but that's almost besides the point as far as the author is concerned.

The main character, Inspector Bordelli, is a middle-aged bachelor still hoping to find the woman of his dreams. In the meantime, he collects friends like kids collect junk and he's refreshingly open-minded as to their careers and pastimes. His friends include burglars, prostitutes, mad
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Roberta
Convivio fiorentino

Il commissario Bordelli è il protagonista di questo adorabile giallo "vecchia maniera". Nessun desiderio di stupire da parte dell'autore, bensì volontà di raccontare, tematica centrale nel romanzo.

Ambientato in una soffocante Firenze agostana degli anni '60, Il commissario Bordelli racconta appunto uno dei casi del Commissario, un personaggio molto sopra le righe, che si rifiuta di piegarsi alla volontà ferrea delle regole, aggrappandosi a una umanità dolente e profondissima.

B
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Dale
Commissario Bordelli is the sleepiest detective ever created. Insomnia every night, and barely able to keep his eyes open long enough to make an arrest. Sleepy and melancholy. He's about fifty, unmarried, long in search of the perfect woman, and now knowing that it's probably too late. He's easily smitten. He's disturbed by dreams of the past - a lost love and the sight and memory of his friends blown up in WwII.

The novel is set in a hot muggy August in 1963 in Florence. The town is mostly deser
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LJ
First Sentence: Inspector Bordelli entered his office at eight o’clock in the morning after an almost sleepless night, spent tossing and turning between sweat-soaked sheets.

When the police receive a call saying a housekeeper is certain her employer is dead, it sends them to the wealthy woman’s home. There, they do find the woman’s body. On the surface, it appears she died of an asthma attack, but Bordelli isn’t convinced. The housekeeper, Maria, believes she knows who is guilty. Bordelli must pr
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Andrew
Having read most of Camilleri's Montalbano, Dibdin's Zen & Leon's Brunetti episodes,I was looking for a new Italian detective/crime series to occupy me through the long,hot summer to come! And this creation of direct contemporary Marco Vichi (b.1957) fits perfectly into the sweaty,detective-shaped,wine-stained hole!
A Florentine setting in the summer of 1963 helps distance the protagonist,Inspector Bordelli,from the other aforementioned fictional policemen,giving the novel a touch of historic
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Marge
A rich, elderly woman in 1963 Florence, Italy, dies, from what looks to be an asthma attack. Her two nephews are the prime suspects. The detective continuously relives his experiences in World War II.
This book no doubt lost a lot in the translation from the original Italian. Also, there are no chapters, which makes it drag. It concentrates more on the setting and the detective rather than the mystery, which suffers because of it.
Kenneth
This wasn't a bad book, but it was a disappointment. To begin with, although it was set in Florence, there was absolutely no sense of the place. It could have been set in any generic Italian city, as long as it was HOT (a fact that gets mentioned on almost every page). Plot-wise, because of a dearth of suspects, the mystery itself was not very mysterious -- though the manner of death was pretty far-fetched. Finally, while Inspector Bordelli had some interesting aspects, he fell short of being a ...more
John Lee
If you havent heard of this, I am not surprised. It is the first in the Inspector Bordelli series to be translated into English.
I have only been to Italy once in Summer ( Naples in late September rather than Florence in August)but I can imagine the problems with the heat just as described. I enjoyed the writing style and, as I suspected that I would, I soon took to Inspector Bordelli. Imagine HRF Keating's Inspector Ghote or Shamina Flint's Inspector Singh then mix them with aliberal dash of It
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Mario
Il commissario Bordelli, a partire dal nome, è un personaggio artificioso e costruito. Ogni sua azione appare poco realistica e costruita.
I suoi personaggi, i ladri da operetta che lo circondano non esistono più, se mai ne è esistito qualcuno, forse solo in qualche film comico di tanti anni fa.
La realtà purtroppo non ha nulla del buonismo che lo ispira.
E neppure il suo comportamento in servizio ha nulla del commissario, che non potrebbe certo agire senza rispettare le regole imposte dal codic
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Martina
Nov 26, 2013 Martina rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who likes European crime novels

Inspector Bordelli, Florence, Italy, 1963... A woman dies, apparently of a violent asthma attack, but the Inspector comes to think it was murder. A slower, quieter crime novel, but I like the characters and I think this is very much more about the people, the food, the place, much like other Italian crime series like the Insp. Montalbano books. There are some extremely funny moments, but also a haunted quality about the main character. Sweltering August heat, mosquitoes, and flies all torment Bo
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Sheila
Like many others, I found this book both charming and irritating. The police bits are silly - he's like Nero Wolfe mulling things over without an Archie doing the digging. I did love the dinner scene, I loved Dante, and was pleased when the bad guys got their comeuppance, but I did get tired of the heat and mosquitoes - enough atmosphere already!
Jean
Another Italian detective, but not nearly as good as Donna Leon's Commissario Guido Brunetti. Vichi does a good job with the perils of an Italian summer, and there is a bit of a mystery to solve in the death of a wealthy older woman. But the "who" in the "who-done-it" is figured out pretty quickly by Inspector Bordelli and his assistant.
Much of the time is spent talking about what Bordelli eats and his memories of World War II and his discussions with his friends, including a long dinner party
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Cathy
2-1/2 stars really. Better than ok, but not quite "good". It bothered me that the entire book was one big chapter - that really doesn't have much to do with the content of the book, but I thought it was a bit weird. However, the main character, Inspector Bordelli, is in every single scene so it was just one continuing stream of activity. A number of really interesting characters; I liked them quite a bit. I actually figured out how the murderer(s) accomplished the task with iron-clad aliabis bef ...more
T
I saw this book on a shelf on my way out of the library and thought, why not? I decided to give it a shot. I was three-quarters of the way through before giving up on it. This has to be one of the most anticlimactic murder mysteries out there. It started off interestingly enough and had the potential, but it's just so... boring! The constant mundane imagery, emphasis on the weather, and the stupid subplot involving Bordelli's cousin combine to make this one very slow read.

It is not a good sign w
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Jimbose
Un bel noir sul solco già tracciato mezzo secolo fa da Scerbanenco. L'unica vera pecca, dal mio punto di vista, è che non ci ho respirato l'aria di Firenze. Ad ogni modo l'ho trovato un buon romanzo e con Vichi ho trovato un buon autore da leggere.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add a cover image 14 35 Dec 04, 2013 10:17PM  
Writers and Readers : Vichi's Death in August Giveaway 1 4 Sep 05, 2012 08:33AM  
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Marco Vichi was born in Florence. The author of eleven novels and two collections of short stories, he has also edited crime anthologies, written screenplays, music lyrics and for radio, and collaborated on and directed various projects for humanitarian causes. His novel Death in Florence won the Scerbanenco, Rieti and Camaiore prizes in Italy. Marco Vichi lives in the Chianti region of Tuscany.
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“It pleased him to see that things, and not only people, suffered the wear and tear of age. [53 yr old Inspector Bordelli's view]” 0 likes
“The young were all fleeing the countryside to work in the city. Nobody seemed to want to live any more between the soil and the cow pats. [Italy in 1960s]” 0 likes
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