cover image Puppies for the Bastards of Pizzofalcone

Puppies for the Bastards of Pizzofalcone

Maurizio de Giovanni, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar. World Noir, $18 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-60945-604-7

A rich ensemble cast lifts de Giovanni’s funny, poignant fourth police procedural featuring the “losers and pariahs” who man the little Pizzofalcone police station located in the heart of Naples (after 2019’s Cold for the Bastards). Early one morning, Officer Francesco Romano, who has anger management issues, is hurrying to work when he hears a noise from beside a dumpster outside the precinct. Inside is a newborn baby, dressed in a pink onesie, who’s barely breathing. The search for the mother leads the detectives to the mother’s body. Meanwhile, Officer Marco Aragona, who likes to imagine himself the dashing protagonist of an American TV cop show, is approached by a neighborhood boy, who says, “I want you, a first-class detective, to find my dog and bring him back to me.” Ever susceptible to flattery, Aragona agrees, though he hasn’t a clue as to how to proceed. The endearing, idiosyncratic characters change from book to book in little ways that make total sense and enrich the backstories. De Giovanni is a master of the witty, elegantly plotted fair-play mystery. (July)