I have finished the 83rd book for the book challenge. It was Death in August: The First Inspector Bordelli Mystery by Marco Vichi.
Inspector Bordelli is stuck in Florence for the hot month of August while most of the city, including his friend Rosa the prostitute is at the beach. He has a mystery to investigate. A wealthy woman, Senora Pedretti-Strassen has been found dead in her villa. At first it seems that she has had an asthma attack but a closer examination shows that she did not take her asthma medication but it was poured into her mouth. And the bottle of her medication has the top firmly screwed on. She was found with her hands grasping her throat as if she couldn’t breathe.
Bordelli conducts the investigation into her death and finds she had two nephews who think they are inheriting her estate. Unfortunately for them, she left all her money and the house to a sister’s convent. But he suspects the nephews anyway. But they seem to have a good alibi. They were miles away at the beach in a bar and dancing when she had the asthma attack. And she was allergic to a very specific type of pollen found in South America. How was the murder committed? Bordelli sets off to the beach to interrogate the two brothers and their wives and meets a woman to whom he is attracted.
Back in Florence, Bordelli meets with Senora Pedretti’s brother Dante, a mad inventor who explains about her allergy. Bordelli likes Dante and invites him and other to a dinner at his home that is catered by his friend Botto, a former inmate. Everyone has a wonderful time but ends up a little drunk.
Bordelli keeps pondering how the pollen from this South American plant could have gotten to Senora Pedretti. But while he is talking to his friend Rose about cats, he realizes that he knows how the pollen was transmitted to the woman. He brings in the two brothers and their wives and keeps them there all night until one breaks. The pollen was rubbed into the fur of Gideon, Senora Pedretti’s cat, who came into her room every night at 9 o’clock from the garden and rubbed against her. Then later the brothers came in and put back her medication (which they had previously removed), put some in her mouth, but firmly screwed on the cap. The doors were left locked so it seemed that no one had broken in because they had keys and came after the time frame of the murder.
Bordelli gives Gideon the cat to Rosa who wants a cat to care for. And Bordelli is now promoted to Chief Inspector, though he doesn’t want to move into a new office. And he has learned that his shy cousin Rodrigo has a girlfriend. He wishes he did.