Glass Souls

Written by Antony Shugaar (trans.) Maurizio de Giovanni
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1930s Italy, the lovely Bianca, Countess of Roccaspina, pays a visit to Commissario Ricciardi. She pleads with him to find the murderer of an attorney who was killed several weeks earlier. Her husband has already informed the police he has committed the crime and is in prison. Bianca is positive her husband is not guilty, but because of their strained relationship, she doesn’t know why her husband would plead guilty to the crime.

Ricciardi and his deputy, Maione, begin to make enquiries. Ricciardi is depressed because of the recent death of his tata (nanny), Rosa. To complicate his personal life, two women are in love with him. Livia is rich and has a bodyguard, Falco, who also doubles as a spy for the Fascist government. He has Ricciardi under surveillance. Enrica, who has a German soldier as a suitor, is also in love with Ricciardi. Ricciardi tells both women he is not interested in marrying either one.

The eighth in the Commissario Ricciardi mystery series, the book brings together police work, while under the Fascist government of pre-war Italy. Ricciardi is an unlikely hero, to be sure, but he is always focused on solving his crimes while ignoring his personal life and those around him. The details of everyday life in pre-war Italy are fascinating. I was drawn into the characters, the methods used to investigate the possible unsolved crime, and the moody protagonist. This is a worthwhile read and difficult to put down.