Springtime proffers fragrant temptations to the men and women of Naples. But evil also lurks in the sweet-smelling spring air. It is one week before Easter, Naples, 1932. At the high-class brothel in the center of town known as Paradiso, Viper, the most famous prostitute of all, is found dead. Suffocated with a pillow. Her last client swears that when he left her she was alive and well. But when the following client arrived, he found her dead. Who killed her, and why? Ricciardi has to untangle a complex knot of greed, frustration, and jealousy in order to solve the riddle of Viper’s death. But his investigation is scuttled at every turn by the conflicting emotions that lurk beneath the surface of a city that lives on passion. De Giovanni’s mysteries unfold with such sinuous ease that they seem to write themselves. They enchant, surprise, enthrall. Commissario Ricciardi, who possesses the dubious gift of being able to see and hear the last seconds in the lives of those who have suffered a violent death, is one of the most fascinating investigators to appear on the international crime fiction stage in years. And in Viper, the lustful and boisterous city of Naples has never been more seductive.
Maurizio de Giovanni
Maurizio de Giovanni lives and works in Naples. In 2005, he won a writing competition for unpublished authors with a short story set in the thirties about Commissario Ricciardi, which was then turned into the first novel of the series. His books have been successfully translated into French, Spanish and German, and are now available in English for the first time.