Death in August, Marco Vichi

The warmth is blanketing the city and most people left to celebrate their holidays at the beach. It is August in Florence and the city is very quiet. Commissario Bordelli is the one to hold the fort and he is called when an old lady is found dead. On first sight it looks like a natural murder, brought on by an asthma attack, but soon it becomes clear it was murder. The two nephews are suspects, but how can Bordelli prove they killed their aunt?
Bordelli is assisted in this case by bright young police officer Piras, who happens to be the son of Bordelli’s old comrade when he fought in the partisans against the fascists and the Nazis.

Death in August is the first part in a series about commissario Bordelli. The stories are set in the sixties, and in this first story it is 1961. The war ended fifteen years ago, but the memories of what happened in Italy and the things he saw often plague Bordelli. He never married, but still hoped to meet the right woman one day.

Commissario Bordelli has a strong sense of justice, for example he does not like to put people in jail who stole something because they were hungry.
And when he goes to the house of a prostitute he knows who is on holiday, Bordelli promised to water her plants, he finds a burglar there. Bordelli recognizes the man and knows he never has any luck. His solution is to give the burglar the keys of the house and the job of watering the plants.

Bordelli has friends from all walks of life, one of the high points in the book is the diner party where a thief is cooking and a psychiatrist and a pathologist are amongst the quests and they all discuss the war and life.

If you want a fast-paced story with loads of action, than this is not the book for you. Death in August by Marco Vichi is told slowly, both because it is August and the city is too hot to do anything with haste, and also because it is set in 1961. It is a story with a commissario who has his own sense of moral and justice, and the atmosphere of Italy can be found on every page. If these are things you enjoy, than this is the book for you. I really enjoyed it.

The next books in the series are: Death and the Olive grove, Death in Sardinia and Death in Florence. 

Original Italian title: Il commissario Bordelli
Published in 2002
English publication in 2011
Translated into English by: Stephen Sarterelli


  1. I love the cover art of this book, and it sounds interesting too!

    I see your currently reading The Angel's Game - I look forward to hearing your thoughts on that one!
    Bits & Bobs

    1. All the covers in these series have the same kind of artwork, it really suits the books and the time they are set.
      So far I like The angel's game, but I will place a review when I have finished it!

      Kind regards,


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