Excerpt from Death of a Serpent Sunday, October 7, 1866 The carriage slowed. “What’s that pounding I hear?” Rosa asked. “Nothing. The wind.” They stopped. She heard voices, laughter, roaring beasts, the crack of a whip, and squinted through clouds of dust to a long line of wagons. The madam stuck her head out the window. Holding her hat firmly on her head with one hand, she called out to the driver. “Why have we stopped?” “The circus blocks the road.” “Off the highway,” someone shouted. … [Read more...] about What’s That Pounding I Hear?
Death of a Serpent
Excerpt from Death of a Serpent Sicily, November 1866 Rosa wagged her finger. “Mark my words, think on it well: money is at the root of these crimes. I know it, I know it.” She twisted her fingers. “The killer promises them something for a big fee. He takes their coins and kills them. At the heart is lucre.” “That may be a part of it. Falco, for instance, gains by Bella’s death.” Rosa nodded. “But that’s not all, not the most important part. There’s a systematic … [Read more...] about A Lust for Lucre
Excerpt from Death Of A Serpent Saturday, November 3, 1866 Serafina reached into her pocket and handed Rosa a fresh handkerchief. “You got up early?” She nodded. “Middle of the night, I heard a sound, like a creature from the netherworld had me in chains and was dragging me away. At first I thought I was having a bad dream. But, no, I wasn’t sleeping. I got up, lit the lamp. The noise continued. Then I thought it must be a rowdy customer. The sound grew louder. Coming from … [Read more...] about Serafina & Rosa Discuss Murder
Excerpt from Death Of A Serpent Friday, November 2, 1866 After the noon meal, Serafina snipped flowers from the old geranium. She’d visit the cemetery before joining up with her children. Blowing them a kiss, she left. In contrast to the vermilion blossoms she clutched, the November light flattened the world on this, the festa of Li Morti. Events would begin with a procession of actors from the cemetery gates, winding through town and down the Via Serpentina to the arena near the sea. There … [Read more...] about Caught in a Spell
Long before they were books, the Serafina Florio mystery series began as two paintings. In 1997 I was commissioned by the American Jewish Committee to paint a diptych of the Lower East Side. The client told me I had free rein as long as my work reflected all ethnic groups that settled in the area from 1882 to 1925. So how do you stuff the richness of that neighborhood onto a canvas? Before I picked up a brush, I spent three months walking the streets of lower Manhattan, sketching in … [Read more...] about Inspiration and the Lower East Side