Review: I Will Have Vengeance by Maurizio de Giovanni


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Translated from the Italian by Anne Milano Appel. First published in Italy as Il senso del dolore, 2007. Hersilia Press, 2012. 216 pages. ISBN: 978-0-9563796-3-4 (paperback).

Maurizio de Giovanni was born in 1958 in Naples, where he lives and works. In 2005 he won a writing competition for unpublished authors with a short story set in his hometown during the thirties . This was the basis of this novel, published in 2007 with the title Il senso del dolore – L’inverno del commissario Ricciardi, the first in a series of which four has been published to date.

The main character “Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi, the man without a hat, was Commissario of Police with the Mobile Unit of the Regia Questura di Napoli. He was thirty-one years old, the same number of years that marked that century, nine of them under the fascist regime.” Luigi Alfredo is the only son of Baron Ricciardi di Malomonte, who died quite young. His mother died in a nursery home when he was a teenager. A strange phenomenon he calls the Incident, has marked his existence. He is able to see the last moments of those who died violently.

He doesn’t have to work thanks to his family income. After finishing his law studies, he joined the police. He has no friends and his family ends with his old tata Rosa, now seventy years old. His colleagues, try to avoid him. His superiors, are afraid of his qualities and his subordinates don’t understand his moroseness, his silences: never a smile, never a superfluous comment. His methods are unconventional …… in the end he is always right. ….only one of his co-workers is genuinely attached to him: Brigadier Raffaele Maiono. His only entertainment is watching a young woman through his window. She lives in front of his house but he has never spoken to her.

The story unfolds when one of the world’s greatest tenors, Maestro Arnaldo Vezzi, is found brutally murdered in his dressing room at Naples’ famous San Carlo Theatre. Commissario Ricciardi is called in to investigate. Arrogant and bad-tempered, Vezzi was hated by many, but with the livelihoods of the opera at stake, who would have committed this callous act? Ricciardi, along with his loyal colleague, Maione, is determined to discover the truth. The world of Opera is completely unknown to Ricciardi but he counts with the valuable assistance of a great aficionado, don Pierino Fava, the Assistant Pastor of San Ferdinando.

The reader should not worry about the supernatural aspect of this book since this is a perfectly realistic narrative. There is no doubt that the author is well documented about the time in which the events unfold. One of the main achievements of this book is the way it has to integrate the opera fiction into the main plot. The result is an enjoyable reading and I’ve no doubt that it will also be a delightful read to any opera aficionado. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. My special thanks to Hersilia Press for sending me a copy of this book.

My rating: 3/5

I Will Have Vengeance has been reviewed by Maxine at Euro Crime, NacyO at The crime segments, Gareth at Killing Time, Suzigun at Novel Heights, Mrs. Peabody Investigates, Norman at Crime Scraps Review among others and it has been shortlisted this year for the Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger and the Historical Dagger awards. 

Hersilia Press


El invierno del comisario Ricciardi de Maurizio de Giovanni

Maurizio de Giovanni nació en 1958 en Nápoles, donde vive y trabaja. En el 2005 ganó un concurso de redacción para autores noveles con un cuento situado en su ciudad natal durante los años trienta. Esta fue la base de esta novela, publicada en 2007 con el título de Il senso del dolore – L’inverno del comisario Ricciardi, el primero de una serie de la que cuatro se han publicado hasta la fecha.

El personaje principal “Luis Alfredo Ricciardi, el hombre sin sombrero, fue comisario de la Policía con la Unidad Móvil de la Jefatura de Policía de la Región de Nápoles. Tenía treinta y un años de edad, el mismo número de años que llevaba transcurrido el siglo, nueve de ellas bajo el régimen fascista “. Luis Alfredo es el único hijo del barón Ricciardi di Malomonte, que murió muy joven. Su madre murió internada en un sanatorio cuando el era todavía adolescente. Un extraño fenómeno que él llama el incidente, ha marcado su existencia. Es capaz de ver los últimos momentos de aquellos que han fallecido de forma violenta.

Gracias a la fortuna de su familia no tiene que trabajar. Al terminar sus estudios de derecho, se incorporó a la policía. No tiene amigos y su familia se acaba con su vieja tata Rosa, que tiene ahora setenta años. Sus colegas intentan evitarle. Sus jefes tienen miedo de sus cualidades y sus subordinados no entienden su mal humor, sus silencios: nunca una sonrisa, nunca un comentario superfluo. Sus métodos son poco convencionales …… al final siempre tiene razón. …. Sólo uno de sus compañeros de trabajo se siente realmente unida a él: el brigadier Raffaele Maiono. Su único entretenimiento es ver a una joven a través de su ventana. Ella vive en frente de su casa, pero nunca ha hablado con ella.

La historia se desarrolla cuando uno de los tenores más grandes del mundo, el Maestro Arnaldo Vezzi, aparece brutalmente asesinado en su camerino en el famoso Teatro San Carlo de Nápoles. El comisario Ricciardi acude a investigar. Arrogante y malhumorado, Vezzi era odiado por muchos, para quienes la ópera es su medio de vida. Quién ha podido cometer un acto tan cruel? Ricciardi, junto con su leal compañero Maione, está decidido a descubrir la verdad. El mundo de la ópera le es totalmente desconocido a Ricciardi pero cuenta con la valiosa colaboración de un gran aficionado, don Pierino Fava, el coadjutor de la parroquia de San Fernando.

El lector no debe preocuparse por el aspecto sobrenatural de este libro ya que éste es un relato absolutamente realista. No hay duda de que el autor se ha documentado sobre la época en la que se desarrollan los acontecimientos. Uno de los principales logros de este libro es la forma que tiene de integrar la ficción de la ópera en la trama principal. El resultado es una lectura agradable y no tengo ninguna duda de que también será una lectura agradable para cualquier aficionado a la ópera. Espero poder leer el resto de los libros de la serie. Mi especial agradecimiento a Hersilia Press por haberme enviado una copia de este libro.

Ver reseñas en Revista de Letras y Mis detectives favorit@s, entre otros. El invierno del comisario Ricciardi está nominada este año para la International Dagger Award de la CWA y para la Historical Dagger Award.

Lumen – Random House Mondadori

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8 comments

  1. José Ignacio – Thanks very much for this review. I know just a very little about opera, so I’d love to learn more about it. And Ricciardi sounds like a “well born” detective in the tradition of Dorothy Sayers’ Peter Wimsey and Elizabeth George’s Thomas Lynley. That sounds like an interesting combination and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Very interesting review, Jose Ignacio. I liked this book, though perhaps not quite as much as some of the others shortlisted for the international dagger. But it is fun to read the shortlisted titles, I think…..thanks again for the review.

    1. You are welcome Maxine. You are probably rigth it doesn’t seem as strong as other contenders but its always nice to read the International Dagger shortlist and find new authors. Understand his next books are getting much better. After all this was his debut novel.

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