cover image Everyone in Their Place: The Summer of Commissario Ricciardi

Everyone in Their Place: The Summer of Commissario Ricciardi

Maurizio de Giovanni, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar. Europa/World Noir, $16 trade paper (380p) ISBN 978-1-60945-143-1

De Giovanni's second novel featuring Naples Police Commisario Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi (after 2012's I Will Have Vengeance) combines a rare setting for a whodunit, Fascist Italy, with a classic fair play puzzle and a highly unusual lead. After a lyrical and tantalizing opening ("The angel of death made its way through the festa, and nobody noticed"), Ricciardi is introduced%E2%80%94a diligent investigator who keeps to himself, and who, in a startling early reveal, sees the ghosts of murder victims. He's given a fresh crime to solve after Duchess Adriana Musso di Camparino is found in her apartment with a bullet hole in the center of her forehead. The obvious suspect is her not-so-secret lover, Mario Capece, a prominent newspaper editor, whose position in society makes the inquiry a sensitive one. As intriguing as the mystery is, the book's strongest appeal is in its convincing portrayal of life under Mussolini, which included government directives to demobilize crime reporters and bar reporting of stories that could have "an unhealthy effect on the spirits of the mentally weak." (Nov. 2013)