First Sentence: The bomb exploded suddenly, with a ferocious blast, right as the funeral procession was crossing the street.
It is April 1945, the final days before the Allies move into Italy. Those in power are desperately trying to find a way to survive the coming days.
In the midst of this, Commissario De Luca has been given "carte blanche" in his investigation of the murder and castration of Rehinard Vittorio, a member of the Fascist Republican Party. With a mix of female suspects, drugs, witchcraft and more bodies, De Luca is a policeman trying to solve a crime.
This was a fast, and absolutely captivating, book. Lucarelli's creation of time and place provided a sense of the confusion and conflicting forces at play during this time when the primary concern was trying to survive.
Into that he brings the character of De Luca who, in spite of insomnia, dyspepsia, and political forces, is dedicated to being a policeman, solving the crime and bringing justice. De Luca's emotions are so well conveyed, as is the danger and frustration. The story is well-plotted and the characters alive.
There is good suspense and surprisingly ironic twist at the end. The mystery is solved, the murderer identified but you are left wanted to know what happens next to Comm. De Luca. Happily, Parts II and III of the trilogy await me.