Publisher's Weekly, "New readers and returning fans should savor this novel like a Neapolitan pastiera".
Date: Apr 7 2015
Set during Holy Week 1932, De Giovanni's engaging sixth Commissario Ricciardi mystery (after 2014's By My Hand) opens with the murder of Viper, Naples's most famous prostitute. She had only two regular clients: the owner of a sacred art shop, whose obsession with her threatened his family's fortune and reputation, and a fruit vendor, the childhood love who wanted to marry her. As Ricciardi learns about Viper's tragic life, he realizes that the clients, their families, and other prostitutes all had motives to kill her. Meanwhile, two strikingly different women vie for his affections: beautiful, sophisticated Livia Lucani, who followed him to Naples after he solved her husband's murder, and Enrica Colombo, an alluring neighbor. Rich detail about Easter traditions, observances, and cuisine—in keeping with the seasonal theme of the series—contrast with the sinister growth of Mussolini's power, made starkly apparent when outspoken pathologist Bruno Modo disappears after a clash with Fascists. Bambinella, a transvestite prostitute, fails to transcend cliché, but melancholy Ricciardi, Brigadier Raffaele Maione, and other characters are compellingly drawn. New readers and returning fans should savor this novel like a Neapolitan pastiera. (Mar.)