Excerpt from “Falco”
Tuesday, October 23, 1866
As the objects took on familiar shapes, headless bodies became models wearing uniforms or clerical garb. On one wall, shelves held spools of thread, braids, buttons, bric-a-brac. On the opposite wall, rolls of fabric leaned against a tall chest. Serafina walked over to it. She reached out to examine one of the small carvings sitting on top of the chest. Smiling to herself she put it back: Falco’s clay figures.
Baldassare pointed to a dress uniform worn by Joachim Murat, an ostrich-feathered hat sitting on its shoulders. Another mannequin sported a red Garibaldi shirt beneath a leather jerkin. Others were draped in grey or blue homespun—for soldiers in America, Nittù told them. Several figures wore monastic scapulae and hoods. Neat and well-ordered, the room, almost a museum.
Serafina wiped her eyes. Presently she heard footsteps. A door opened and Falco entered, stroking his mustache with a table napkin.
“This woman with eyes like the sea—she investigates the killing of Bella and wants to meet you,” Nittù said.