The goddes of fortune

First title in the series The Rome Chronicles

Mid-August, when Rome has been deserted by a significant number of its usual residents. Fabio Gracco is one of the few who has stayed behind and has to investigate on a delicate case of marital infidelity. Delicate because Silvia Sivieri, who commissioned him, is an old flame of his and her husband, Nicola de Nicola, the adulterer, is a well-known politician, a rising star in the Liberal movement.

The evidence Fabio has gathered is red hot, to say the least, and very hard for Silvia to absorb. It could just end there with a big scene, perhaps even a scandal in the papers, her husband’s resignation and the start of divorce proceedings. But things go fatally wrong. That same woman, with whom Fabio is having an affair, is found dead in an ancient Roman well used for sacrifices. The victim is Carla Caggiani, a young archaeologist who had been working on the archaeological site of a temple dedicated to the goddess of Fortune, discovered in the basement of an ancient building in the centre of Rome. At first her death is considered an unfortunate accident, then the autopsy reveals that Carla was murdered.

Despite his despair, the Right Honourable Nicola de Nicola knows he must act quickly because the investigation will soon lead to him: he therefore turns to Fabio Gracco, the private detective who has already uncovered his infidelity and for this very reason knows more about the entire affair than anyone else. And thus Gracco embarks on what is called, in legal jargon, a defence investigation, based more on traditional methods of inquiry than on high-tech scientific research or electronic analysis. Parliamentary immunity does not prevent De Nicola from being attacked by the media, so he is asked to “step down” by his Party’s secretary. In a deliriously hot and empty Rome in August, it will be Fabio Gracco responsibility to solve the case. Thanks also to the foresight of the magistrate on duty, deputy public prosecutor Lucia Campazzi, who has no qualms in encouraging cooperation between our dynamic private detective and Domenico Ramino, a rebellious and jealous deputy inspector from the Rome flying squad, in order to ensure that the real culprit is brought to justice.