cover image Winter Swallows: Ring Down the Curtain for Commissario Ricciardi

Winter Swallows: Ring Down the Curtain for Commissario Ricciardi

Maurizio de Giovanni, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar. Europa, $18 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-60945-727-3

Set in 1930s Italy, De Giovanni’s elegant 10th novel featuring Neapolitan Commissario Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi (after 2018’s Nameless Serenade) opens with a tantalizing prologue in which an unknown narrator confesses to shooting Ricciardi. Flash back to the period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when Ricciardi is called to the Teatro Splendor. During the finale of a popular musical revue, singer and film actor Michelangelo Gelmi shot his beautiful and even more famous wife, Fedora Marra. Gelmi swears that, as with every previous performance, he had loaded the gun with blanks. Fedora’s death is the talk of the city, and Ricciardi is urged to close the case immediately; after all, every member of the audience saw Gelmi fire the fatal shot. Ricciardi isn’t convinced of the actor’s guilt and delves deeper. The chaste romance between Ricciardi and his true love, Enrica Colombo, who has rejected the marriage proposal of “a suave and captivating German officer,” provides welcome counterpoint to the murder investigation—which eventually ties in with Ricciardi’s shooting, which, no surprise, he survives. De Giovanni should win new fans with this one. (Jan.)