I Will Have Vengeance: The Winter of Commissario Ricciardi

Maurizio de Giovanni, trans. from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel. Europa (Penguin, dist.), $16 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-60945-094-6
The first English translation of veteran Italian crime writer de Giovanni, this murder mystery set in Fascist 1930s Italy introduces new readers to haughty homicide detective Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi. A loner cursed with a "scar on his soul," Commissario Ricciardi can see in his mind's eye the final moments in the lives of victims "who had died violently," an ability that has propelled him to the top of his profession. Arnaldo Vezzi—revered by opera audiences as the world's greatest tenor but reviled by everyone who knew him—is fatally stabbed with a large shard of a mirror in his dressing room before a performance of Pagliacci. Ricciardi re-creates the prelude to murder in his mind and hears Vezzi softly rehearsing his lines, which include the Italian words of this book's title. Under pressure from his superior, who is eager to deliver swift justice in such a high-profile case and win Il Duce's praises, the detective pieces together two disparate storylines for a drawn-out but didn't-see-it-coming denouement. Appel deserves credit for retaining de Giovanni's distinct brand of noir in her translation, which will appeal to Agatha Christie and Manuel Vazquez Montalban fans. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/25/2013
Release date: 12/01/2012
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