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A Florentine Death

(Michele Ferrara #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  1,021 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara knows that the beautiful surface of his adopted city, Florence, hides dark undercurrents. When called in to investigate a series of brutal and apparently random murders, his intuition is confirmed. Distrusted by his superiors and pilloried by the media, Ferrara finds time running out as the questions pile up. Is there a connection ...more
Published July 5th 2007 by Abacus Software (first published 2004)
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Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: detective
This was a bit of a disappointment. Michele Giuttari has received some good press, and seems to be well regarded in Italy, but I didn't find much to like in this book - two dimensional characters, laboured plot development and rather uninspiring descriptions.

The narrative follows the progress of both the main detective character and the man he seeks. The upshot is that by the halfway point of the book the bulk of the plot has been either directly revealed or strongly implied. This can work if
Nancy Oakes
Here's what I thought: not so hot -- like a 2.4 rating.

In this novel, the focus is on the hunt for a serial killer, someone who not only murders his victims but also savagely mutilates them as well. Ferrara already has a number of crimes on his hands, but this one becomes personal as he begins to receive strange, anonymous letters that seem to imply that Ferrara is on the killer's list as well. The murderer also indicates that Ferrara will have to wait his turn until the end of the killing
Mar 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a new author for me. He is an ex Chief Superintendent with the Italian police. He's worked in various places but was born Sicilian and ended his career in Florence. He has worked on both the anti-mafia and flying squads.

Obviously his inner, recent knowledge of the workings of what he writes about is a big bonus. What I can't figure out is how much is him and how much is his main character, Michele Ferrera. He states that Ferrera is the man he'd like to be. I get the impression, from his
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
In Michele Guittari's A Florentine Death, the first installment in the Michele Ferrara Italian mystery series, this chilling mystery will give you an ice cold look on a ruthless serial killer. For Superintendent Ferrara, it all started with a gruesome murder in his adopted city of Florence. When they investigate the murder of the first victim, they learned more about him and his private life. As the body count began to pile up with more gruesome murders, he later learned about the sexual nature ...more
Leslie Zampetti
Oct 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Giuttari's debut mystery introduces Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrarra of Florence's Squadra Mobile, or major crimes unit. Giuttari's characterization of Ferrara hits close t home, as he held the same position within the poilzei. Unlike Leon's Brunetti, Ferrara is given less to introspection and more to action, especially as he teases out the connections between the murders of two men, who on the surface have no connection whatsoever - except that religious artifacts are located at both crime ...more
Ozzie Cheek
Sep 19, 2012 rated it liked it
I read a large number of mystery books set in other countries: France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, and so on. For the most part this means I'm always reading translations. The best translations make you forget they are translations at all. These are rare. A FLORENTINE DEATH is a pedestrain translation. There are even a few glaring grammatical errors, suggesting that English might not be the first language of the translator. When I compare Michele Guittari's character, Chief Superintendent Ferrara, ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
Maybe a harsh score, both as a debut genre novel, and based on a translation.

A proper serial killer novel, rather than a mystery or crime novel. I normally have an issue with such works, especially at a western European level when countries such as Sweden that have never had such a killer, somehow produces 1,000 works featuring sexually motivated predatory killers. It loses the usually moralistic element of crime fiction, and becomes voyeuristic schlock thrills. So I probably should not have
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: junk-food
Guittari weaves an increasingly suspenseful tale of serial murder in modern Florence peppered with voyeuristic scenes of unnecessarily graphic sex. His writing shows enough promise that I'm willing to read a second book of his, but more than anything Giuttari's first novel served to increase my opinion of the wonderful Andrea Camilleri.

Though Camilleri, once past the first few pages of his first novel, settles into a lively, crisp, economical style, he manages much more evocative prose than
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: detective
Read this for the book group I attend - so it chose me!

I have cooled towards detective fiction - too much, too many serial killers, too violent, too samey. So I was not full of high expectations. However, I enjoyed this not least because it has a good European setting and is neatly plotted. There is a slight touch of the Dan Brown's and some hints by the author of H P Lovecraft.

I always try to mark books within their genre - so it is an effective detective novel, well written ( as far as a
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A new author for me, but it has to be said that this is an excellent start in writing for him. The procedures and policies of the Italian Police I believe to have been conveyed brilliantly, although I hasten to add my knowledge of them is fairly limited.
I did find myself confused at some points with the language and the way the novel had moved forward, but this might have been a lapse in conversation or a mere translation issue.
Nevertheless, I will be continuing with this series and that is
Oct 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book at the Lawrence Kansas pubic library sale shelf and am delighted to have found not only a new author, but one that writes about Italy, the country that I love, and one that has several books out already! Howard Curtis' translation is excellent, right to the point, and keeps the intensity of the growing mystery high. It is fascinating to learn about the ins and outs of the Italian police system, its rivalry/relationships with other para-military para-police organizations, and ...more
This is the first in the Michele Ferrara series and while I didn't find it as gripping as the other that I have read (which was the 7th in the series, oops) it was still a really good read and a pretty good effort for a debut novel. You can certainly see the raw talent for weaving a slow burning crime story in Giuttari's writing (admittedly that might be partly due to the fact that I have read one of his later novels so know what he is capable of). The story finds Ferrara dealing with a number ...more
Michele Cryan
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this book while in Rome, Italy after having just been 4 days in Florence. First of all, you can tell the book is translated. Some verses/sayings were not quite right. Mostly I liked this. It added Italian charm and I loved the way this author describes the different settings and the people. Excellent writing. My only reason for giving a 4 and not a 5, is I felt unconcerned with the chase and finale. Earlier scenes had me sitting on the edge of my seat. But the actual ending I felt was ...more
Apr 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries
Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara is called out to investigate some very violent murders. As he follows the trail of what seems to be a serial killer of young men, he also has to deal with the political fallout of his last case.

Also tells the story of a woman who got in the way. Interesting that the most detailed sex scene was the lesbian sex – not the heterosexual relationship, nor the gay males, but the lesbians.

Pretty good police procedural. Negative marks because it seems like the author
Jul 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, mystery, italy
First novel by the former head of the Florence police force. Last half of the book really takes off. Giuttari develops the victims and the criminals as well as the cops. After reading many many Italian cop mysteries, I miss the food talk. HA!
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Possibly even better than the second in this series, A Death in Tuscany. The author's experience as head of the Squadra Mobile in Florence makes these books exceptionally realistic and exciting.
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved every work of this wonderful murder mystery. All the elements of a top notch story are a detective, killer and of course the unmistakable cat and mouse between the Detective in charge and the Suspect.
Zoe Radley
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it a fabulous read. Has everything good pace, gritty slow when it needs to be to build up tension. And what a cast of characters. Also as I have recently been to Florence I could visualise the city and landmarks. Can’t wait to read more. He will definitely be going on my fave author list
Rebecca Hock
Aug 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I thought this book was really difficult to get into. At the beginning I found it hard to keep the different characters straight. In fact I almost gave up on it. But I continued and it did get much better. By the end of the book I found it quite enjoyable.
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Think Donna Leon that has some unnecessarily graphic parts in it.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Absolutely the worst murder mystery I have ever read. I'd give details on everything that was wrong with it, but to be honest it doesn't even deserve that much of my time.
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Set in 1999 Florence, this story of a serial killer who is a self-loathing gay man was disturbingly homophobic. This was the first in a series by Giuttari and it's my last.
Helen Moorcock
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Didn't find it all that engaging, interesting ideas but sadly a little flat
May 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery
An OK mystery — I might read more in the series, or I might not.
Janet Panter
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
The first book in the series - which I have read out of sequence - but no matter. I think the later books are even better, although this was still hard to put down.
Chris McGarrry
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
brilliant book
Jan 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(More like 2.5 stars.) I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I was eager to branch out from Donna Leon's wonderful Brunetti books and this looked so promising: a gritty look at the normally so picturesque city of Florence, bizarre murders that seemed to be connected to religious curios and antiques, and an author who had had a storied career in the Italian police forces himself. I was disappointed to find a thriller that was half-baked rather than hard-boiled.

There were several
Michele Giuttari is a real-life Italian policeman, head of the Squadra Mobile for around 8 years in his own right, so it's not too much of a stretch to believe that his central protagonist, Michele Ferrara, is more than a little autobiographical. The author has allowed his character to be slightly quirky, but undoubtedly he is the hero of the piece, and given the cases that Giutarri investigated, including the Monster of Florence, the reader has to assume that some of the events aren't that far ...more
Italo Italophiles
Apr 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you are a Florence fan, and who isn't, you will enjoy the specific streets and buildings that are mentioned throughout A Florentine Death. There is a very strong sense of place in the book.

Depictions of the Italian character are exceptionally strong in the book since it is written by an Italian about Italians, and originally written for an Italian audience.

The details about the police investigations are accurate, thanks to the author being a former head of Florence's Squadra Mobile.

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Michele Giuttari is former head of the Florence Police Force (1995-2003), where he was responsible for re-opening the Monster of Florence case and jailing several key Mafia figures. He is now a special advisor to the interior minister in Rome, with a remit to monitor Mafia activity.

Other books in the series

Michele Ferrara (7 books)
  • A Death In Tuscany (Michele Ferrara, #2)
  • The Death of a Mafia Don (Michele Ferrara, #3)
  • A Death In Calabria (Michele Ferrara, #4)
  • The Black Rose Of Florence (Michele Ferrara, #5)
  • The Dark Heart of Florence (Michele Ferrara, #6)
  • Death Under a Tuscan Sun (Michele Ferrara, #7)
“Italian drivers: "...he drove as if he were at the wheel of a Ferrari at Monza. Like all drivers, he insisted on showing off his skills.” 0 likes
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