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The Bottom of Your Heart: Inferno for…

The Bottom of Your Heart: Inferno for Commissario Ricciardi (2014)

by Maurizio De Giovanni

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This is not to everyone's taste, but I was really immersed in this novel. It is set in the Fascist Italy of Mussolini and we follow Commissario Luigi Ricciardi and his faithful sidekick Brigadier Raffaele Maione. Ricciardi is a wealthy man, a landowner, an aristocrat, but has chosen to join the police. He has a talent/gift/curse/"defect" as he terms it of hearing the dying words of someone who has suffered a violent death. This may help in his police work, and as you read, you do suspend belief at this bit of fantasy. The duo are investigating the death of a professor who has been thrown? jumped on purpose or by accident? from a window high up. They decide it may have been murder. This case leads them into all parts of Naples and they meet all classes of people. Later the suicide of a goldsmith, the last person to see the professor alive, sucks them closer towards a solution. I was so taken with this novel, I quickly ordered whichever ones the library doesn't have. I hope the others will be as good. I hope the ones not now translated into English, will be soon!

I really liked the author's bringing 1930s Naples to such vivid life and his use of what I would assume was Neapolitan dialect, not standard Italian. His characters were sharply drawn. Besides the murder investigation, the two policemen have their own personal problems to solve. The interior monologues of various characters--you were never told which at the time--added to the story.

Highly recommended. ( )
  janerawoof | Sep 13, 2017 |
With the seventh novel in his series featuring Baron Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi di Malomonte, Commissario of Public Safety at the Royal Police Headquarters in Naples, de Giovanni gives readers a new mystery which takes place during the reign of Benito Mussolini in the early 1930s. At the same time, he also continues to develop the stories of the many fascinating secondary characters. The mystery aspect of this story features a murder which draws Brigadier Maione, Ricciardi’s loyal associate, and Dr. Modo, the anti-Fascist medical examiner, into the investigation. The victim, Tullio Iovine del Castello, the head of gynecology at the general hospital of the royal university of Naples, was thrown from a window in his fifth floor office, and Commissario Ricciardi goes to the site immediately in response.

Ricciardi and his team know from the outset that the murderer is physically large and very strong. Several people involved with the professor fit that description: Francesco Ruspo di Roccasole, who lost the chance to become the eventual successor to Iovine; Guido Ruspo, whom Iovine flunked three times during medical studies; and Peppino the Wolf, the gangster husband of a former patient who died during an agonizing labor because Iovine could not be reached for hours. Meanwhile, the anonymous killer narrates throughout the book, telling us that he is still waiting for the woman to whom he pledged his heart years ago.

In addition to the story of the murder, the continuing characters who have appeared throughout the whole series continue their lives. Ricciardi is still single, living with his seventy year old Tata Rosa, and worried about her health as she brings her niece, Nelide, to help her. Brigadier Maione, begins to feel that his marriage to his beloved Lucia is in trouble, and he becomes quite nasty, a huge change from his normal behavior. Livia, the widow of the world’s greatest tenor, is still flirting with Ricciardi, and Enrica, the girl across the alley who has loved Ricciardi from afar for years, now works as a busy school teacher. And fans will be happy to know he hasn't left out Bambinella, the transvestite with a heart of gold who worships Maione. She provides some of the most humorous parts of the story.

I admit to loving this series and also realizing it isn't one for every mystery fan either. Maurizio de Giovanni puts together intricate plots while breaking our hearts with the characters, who all suffer in some way, Ricciardi most of all. The Bottom of Your Heart is one of the most highly developed and complex of the series and I think it just can't be enjoyed if you haven't read at least one of the earlier books. I know my heart is broken because this is the last of the series that has been translated into English. I hope the next one will be translated soon because de Giovanni does save a number of questions to be answered in the future. I wonder if I should learn Italian so I don't have to wait? ( )
1 vote Olivermagnus | Aug 9, 2017 |
Recensione su: http://wp.me/p3X6aw-pD ( )
  Saretta.L | Feb 7, 2015 |
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In the middle of a summer heat wave, as Naples prepares for one of its most important holy days, a renowned surgeon falls to his death from the window of his office. For Commissario Ricciardi and Brigadier Maione it is the beginning of an investigation that will bring them into contact with the most torrid, conflicting and enduring of human passions. In the world Ricciardi and Maione are about to enter, infidelity appears inextricable from the most joyful expressions of love, and, this interdependence sows doubt and uncertainty in both men, compromising their own attempts at love.… (more)

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