The first installment in the series, the one I finished in a day, Death in August, sets the stage for the rest of the series (four in translation at this time), the crime itself being of lesser importance than the creation of context. There is a lot of information about Bordelli's background, which in itself makes this introduction a tad unique. Information about his war experiences, his early introduction to sex, his family, his moral code. And the minor cast characters are developed with enough detail to make them interesting and reasonable as folks a man like Bordelli would consider his friends.
I like characters like Bordelli, full of contradictions, using both reason and intuition to address the crime (and his personal life as well), flawed yet admirable, characters who reflect and in those reflections give me something to reflect upon, too. Like Montalbano and Inspector Morse, Hercule Poirot and Adam Dagliesh. I enjoy a mystery that depends more upon clues and old-fashioned persistence and teamwork than modern forensics for its solution. A mystery more about the human element than blood and core, even with a touch of humor. A mystery that teaches me something about history and/or other cultures. And I love Florence. Will definitely continue with this series!
A footnote - the translation of this novel was done by Stephen Sartarelli, who also has translated Andrea Camilleri's Montalbano series. So there is a decent section of notes to help with the Italian references as well as a natural rhythm that only a good translator can achieve. Having recently read another translated novel without notes and with awkward phrasing and strange analogies, I more thoroughly appreciate Sartarelli's contribution and skills.