Monday, February 11, 1867
“You? Investigate?” Carlo asked, helping Serafina navigate the rocky ascent to the center of town.
She told him of her meeting with the commissioner last month, the increase in her stipend if she agreed to help the department investigate. “Only temporary, you understand.”
He smirked. “Don’t waste too much time on this case. Looks like the work of Don Tigro’s thugs to me. Messy enough. The don’s style, too—body dumped on shore for all to see. ‘Look what happens when you tangle with Don Tigro,’ that’s what he’s saying with this roaring stink.”
Serafina winced. Each time she heard the don’s name, she thought of her mother’s deathbed confession—Tigro was Serafina’s half-brother, born out of wedlock, given up for adoption. A horror, Maddalena’s admission, revealed only in her final agony and shared only with her daughter. If it were true, Don Tigro was the uncle of Serafina’s children. She shuddered when she imagined the burden that knowledge would give them, then quickly chided herself for believing a dying woman’s hallucinations. No matter, no one must ever discover the secret. Beneath a veneer of culture, Don Tigro ran a deadly organization, demanding the last drop of blood from those who sought his friendship. How could he be her mother’s child?
“You’re far away, again, not listening.”
“Brilliant, dear. Please continue.”
Photo: View of Taormina, Sicily. Credit: gnuckx (Flickr), Creative Commons.