The final appearance of Florentine-based Marshal Salvatore Guarnaccia.
The family is rich enough and important enough to command the personal attention of Prosecutor Fulvio De Vita when Daniela Paoletti, a single mother working on her chemistry thesis, is murdered at home while her father is in the hospital recovering from a stroke; her mother is glassy-eyed with grief, drugs or alcohol; and her sister Silvana weeps and screams and covetously strokes her dead sister’s communion necklace. Marshal Guarnaccia, obliged to leave sensitive inquiries to the prosecutor at his insistence, makes little headway dealing with the immediate family until Nesti, a crime reporter who has assisted him in the past, fills him in on the Paoletti background. Papa ran a string of whores posing as exotic dancers in his nightclub; mama was a former prostitute he abused; no one knew who fathered Daniela’s child; and the death may have been a warning to Paoletti from the Russian mafia. Guarnaccia, however, thinks the murder smacks of something more personal. With painstaking delicacy he elicits a tale of indentured young girls kept in place by terror and a festering jealousy spinning into madness.
With the passing of Nabb (The Innocent, 2005, etc.) this past August and Michael Dibdin the year before, the Italian-set mystery has lost its two leading stylists. Guarnaccia, who like Maigret enjoys a good meal, a decent glass of wine and the company of his wife, will be missed.