Blood Curse; The Springtime of Commissario Ricciardi

by Maurizio De Giovanni

In this, the second of Maurizio De Giovanni’s series featuring Commissario Ricciardi, spring has come to Naples, and with it unrequited longings, discontent and dark passions.

Wealthy society wife Emma Serra di Arpaja has fallen in love. To the amusement of her friends and enemies, she goes to every performance of a play featuring actor Attillo Romor. She would never have opened her heart and her eyes to such a glorious man had she not had the guidance of fortune teller Carmela Calise.

Filomena Russo, a sales clerk in a fabric store, is feeling the curse of her great beauty: her boss is pressuring her to sleep with him or he’ll fire her. Then she and her son will be out on the street.

Tonino Iodice, who traded a successful pizza cart for a real restaurant, expected to prosper this spring. Instead, he can’t make the payments on the loan he took from Carmela. She’s given a final extension, but he knows he’ll never have the money in time.

The household of Brigadier Raffaele Maione is immune to the charms of spring. His wife Lucia is still mourning their son Luca, who died in the line of his duty as police officer. Raffaele is feeling like a stranger in his own home.

The melancholic Commissario Ricciardi listens to the whispers of the dead, meditates on the differences between being dead and alive.

When Carmela turns up brutally murdered, the commissario and his assistant Maione are faced with a tangle of seemingly unconnected clues. Carmela, it appears, profitably combined fortune-telling, loan sharking and blackmail. Ricciardi relentlessly pursues the evidence — well past the point where everyone around him believes the case is solved.

This book has everything a mystery reader could want – intriguing characters, a crime that could have been committed by a variety of people for a variety of reasons and a distinct setting in both space and history. Enrica Colombo, the woman Ricciardi is attracted to from afar, has a role in this story as well. Ricciardi’s clumsy response to an unexpected encounter with her nearly put an end to their tentative relationship.

While the books in this series can be read as stand-alone novels, you’ll miss out on the intriguing evolution of Ricciardi’s romance with Enrica and the thread of his musings on life, loss and good and evil if you don’t read them in order.

To learn more about the other books in the series and the author, go to my post on I Will Have Vengeance; The Winter of Comissario Ricciardi.


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