The marshal must leave his snug world, the carabinieri station at the Pitti Palace, and look for a criminal in the shadowy world of prostitutes, their pimps, and their tricks. No one believes he can navigate in this milieu, much less identify a killer, but once again he confounds them.
The lore and mystique of male transvestite lifestyles in Florence--wigs, silicone implants, makeup, gowns and, notably, confusions of gender in "a culture dominated by men"--provide the interest in this competent mystery by the author of The Marshal and the Madwoman. As the novel opens, home-loving Marshal Guarnaccia, wife Teresa and small sons Toto and Giovanni, shopping for school supplies, rescue a lost child. Next, elderly Signora Fossi reports her missing adult son. Before long, grisly remains of the corpse of "Lulu" are found on a grassy riverbank. The Marshal takes the case that no one wants, a situation underscoring the novel's theme of unloved and troubled children. When Totoo is caught shoplifting a sweater, the problem of discontented youth hits close to the Guarnaccia home. Police interviews with men calling themselves Carla and Peppina afford sociological insights in a tale that proves more sobering than entertaining.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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August 31, 2008
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