Death in Florence

A Florentine Death is the first in a series of novels about Chief Superintendant Michele Ferrara, written by the real-life former Head of the Squadra Mobile (Flying Squad) in Florence, Michele Giuttari. Giuttari was responsible for the apprehension of several people connected to the serial killer, the Monster of Florence, and this informs much of the novel.

There's a very nice sense of place, and the basic plotline is very good. A series of baffling murders with no obvious way to link the victims, and then a subplot of a young, in many ways naive, woman, and her relationship with a successful American journalist. It's also got the added fascination, in common with Kathy Reichs, of being written by a professional, and you do wonder how much is truly based upon what has actually happened.

It is a little lacking though, there are no real depths of character, and although the ending is exciting, it does lack a bit of believability - I'm still not convinced that a party of monks would go rampaging after a gunman armed just with a couple of staves! Definitely one to watch, I'd read some more in the series, but am not currently convinced that the Ferrara series will ever rival Donna Leon's novels.


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