Naples, 1931. In a working class apartment in the Sanita neighborhood an elderly woman by the name of Carmela Calise has been beaten to death. When Ricciardi and Maione arrive at the scene they start asking the neighbors questions. No one wants to talk but slowly a few interesting facts slip out. Carmela Calise was moonlighting as a fortuneteller and moneylender. In her decrepit apartment she would receive clients, among them some of the city s rich and powerful, predicting their futures in such a way as to manipulate and deceive. If economic ruin lurked in their futures, Calise was happy to help. For a price, of course. She had many enemies, those indebted to her, manipulated by her lies, disappointed by her prophesies or destroyed by her machinations. Murder suspects in this atmospheric thriller abound and Commissario Ricciardi, one of the most original and intriguing investigators in contemporary crime fiction, will have his work cut out for him."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-06-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Aging tarot card reader Carmela Calise is bludgeoned to death in de Giovanni's (I Will Have Vengeance) very Italian second novel featuring Commissario Ricciardi, a man who can see the dead's final moments and hear their "last, obsessively repeated thought." A pensive and lonely figure, Ricciardi and his uncanny hunches generally earn his colleagues' mistrust, save for his steadfast champion Maione. This time around Maione has his own concerns, distracted by his own case involving gorgeous widow Filomena disfigurment. Set in Naples in 1931, the story delights in dichotomies: living and departed both crowd the streets, spring arrives in force after a long winter, primal needs determine the lives of the wealthy and working classes alike. These mysterious Neapolitan circles feature many subplots and suspects. Impoverished Filomena attracts unwanted propositions and hostilities from her neighbors, where the elevated social status of Emma Serra di Arpaja allows her to view beauty as her freedom from a cold marriage. As Carmela's second profession as a loan shark is uncovered, the narrative flicks between perspectives and disembodied thoughts to offer flashes of characters and possible suspects. Despite a few melodramatic missteps, the promise that each life will intersect keeps Ricciardi and Maione's investigation lively. (May)