Mafia widows take over the family business in this solemnly brutal first novel by a BBC writer from England. Rosa, only granddaughter of the powerful Palermo-based mafia boss Roberto Luciano, is about to marry a loyal member of the clan, and the entire family has gathered at the don's villa to celebrate the event. Not a good idea, as it turns out: On the eve of the wedding, Don Roberto, his two sons and two young grandsons are murdered by unknown members of a rival clan. The Luciano women--Roberto's widow, his two daughters-in-law and his granddaughter--are left unprotected, grieving for their loved ones and pitifully ignorant of what coldblooded maneuverings it takes to support them in the style to which they're accustomed. They rally soon enough, however. Aided by a mysterious young man who appears, wounded, at their doorstep and asks for their care, the women search their husbands' records, shudder briefly at evidence of past betrayals and slayings, and go on to attempt the sale of the Luciano holdings to another family as a way of cleansing themselves of their husbands' sins while insuring their own financial security. The women's rivals close in for the kill, but their mysterious patient saves them from death and destitution by transporting them to New York, dealing personally with murderous middlemen, and offering the women sanctuary in a mansion he claims to own. Who is this guy, the women wonder? Is he the murderer of their husbands and children? The illegitimate son of one of the Luciano men? The boy whom one of the women gave up for adoption a lifetime ago? The answer can be discovered only through traditional mafia methods--and in these the determined women prove as ruthless as their men. A somber tale in which death and haute couture fashions are treated with equal reverence.