cover image Nameless Serenade: Nocturne for Commissario Ricciardi

Nameless Serenade: Nocturne for Commissario Ricciardi

Maurizio de Giovanni, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar. Europa, $17 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-60945-460-9

Deep melancholy infuses the crafty whodunit plot of de Giovanni’s superior ninth mystery set in 1930s Italy (after 2017’s Glass Souls). After the corpse of Constantino Irace, the owner of a celebrated fabric store, is discovered on a Naples street, Commissario Luigi Ricciardi and his deputy, Brigadier Raffaele Maione, are under political pressure to close the case quickly with the arrest of Vincenzo Sannino, who once had a successful boxing career in America that was a source of pride for his country. Sannino quit after his trademark punch, dubbed the snakebite, caused the death of an opponent—and even an entreaty from Mussolini to box again proved unpersuasive. Although Irace might have been killed by a blow resembling the snakebite, and Sannino had motive to kill Irace, because he married the woman Sannino had long been pining for, the honest policemen pursue a less obvious theory, despite its risk to their positions. Ricciardi, who’s literally haunted by visions of the dead, continues to be one of the most nuanced and intriguing sleuths in contemporary crime fiction. (Aug.)