Excerpt from “No More Brothers”
Tuesday, February 11, 1867
Drawing closer Colonna said, “Here before me, I see, Donna Fina.”
“Inspector, I didn’t ask for this. Early this morning my factotum informed me he’d seen a body on the beach. He led me here. I told him to run for you and Dr. Loffredo, but since I planned to stay here out of respect for the dead, I asked him to fetch my son first so that I would not wait alone.”
She introduced Carlo to Colonna. “My oldest, home for two weeks.”
Carlo inclined his head to the inspector.
“You’ve been here for how long?” Colonna asked.
“A while. You took your time getting here. Carlo came shortly after I arrived. We’ve seen no one else.”
Colonna opened the sack. “Do you know this man?”
“I delivered his brother’s child last night.” She pictured Graziella in her final groaning, candles guttering, helper women crowded around a chipped statue of the Virgin. Last night, birth; this morning, death.
“And last night, did you see anything unusual?”
“Inspector, I was directing a birth. I had no time to see or hear anything else.”
Colonna held onto his fedora, pushing forward on splayed feet. “Three uprisings in the province yesterday. Insignificant, but they take their toll. The commissioner will ask for your help with this case, no doubt. But I can spare an hour this morning, give you a few pointers. Do you know where the deceased lived?”