Wednesday, February 13, 1867
Carlo barged into the kitchen just as Rosa’s cook was about to serve Serafina a late breakfast. “Colonna said Abatti talked after we left last night. He confessed to Ugo’s murder. Said he did the job himself.”
Serafina looked up from her paper.
“Why are you frowning?”
“I don’t believe it. He confessed? He must have been coerced.”
“Well, believe it. I read his signed confession. Abatti told Colonna he acted alone. Doesn’t know the brother. Said he met Ugo at Boffo’s, poisoned his wine to soften him up, lured him to the Madonie by the promise of stolen goods hidden in the hollow of a tree. As Ugo reached for the loot, Abatti grabbed him, stabbed him once for each of his comrades killed in the Battle of Milazzo.”
Serafina shook her head.
“Wait. There’s more. Abatti said he took Ugo’s keys after he killed him, stuffed his body into a sack, and dumped it on shore. Then he returned to Ugo’s house and lifted the Marsala Medal from its hook on the mantle.”
“And Colonna believes Abatti, of course. How convenient. What about the wine glasses, the stained napkin in Ugo’s home?”
“Leave it, Mama. The town talks of nothing else—another killer caught by Donna Fina, the midwife of Oltramari.”
“And forget we have a poisoner on the loose?”
Carlo struck his forehead.
Serafina rose. “Ugo’s gold and silver?”
“Didn’t ask.” He looked at her, incredulous. “Where are you going?”
“Abatti said he met Ugo at Boffo’s. We’ll just see about that.”
Photo: Procession in Palermo. Credit: flydime (Flickr)