by Paolo Copparoni, translated into English by Ruth Stephens
Chapter 2 – Sicily
Syracusa is the perfect place to relax and Vittorio enjoys a few days of sun and tranquillity there before beginning his tour of the island.
His first destination is Palermo, a city that he loves but has not visited for 30 years. He began his police career here but after being transferred to the North he never returned to the Sicilian capital.
“I’ve missed you, Palermo,” he often thinks during the days he spends looking around “and I miss those times, too, when I was so young.” Every corner, every street reminds him of some chase, some arrest and of the adrenaline that made him feel so alive.
Having arrived by bus from Syracusa, he first visits the centre and then, because of the heat, heads to the beach at Mondello to relax a little.
Then on to the magnificent island of Favignana where the sea is a beautiful azure blue and from there he decides to carry on towards his main destination: Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples.
As soon as he arrives, Vittorio is struck by the wonder of the place. “This is amazing,” he says to himself, “the archaeological sites are so well-preserved!”
He spends the entire day looking around the temples then, tired, makes his way to the hotel he has booked in the centre of Agrigento. But at the hotel he receives a nasty shock: the booking has not been confirmed and there are no other rooms available.
“But how can this be?” demands Vittorio, rather irritated “There must be some mistake. I booked, I’m sure I did.”
“There must have been some misunderstanding, Sir,” replies the receptionist, “perhaps you thought you had booked but never received our confirmation; there have been no free rooms for some time, I’m sorry.”
Useless to appeal to the proprietor of the hotel; there are no rooms so the only solution is to find another place to stay and he is fortunate to find it at Canicatti, a little village outside Agrigento. The hotel there is small but welcoming and Vittorio’s single room is very reasonably priced.
“At last I can rest!” thinks Vittorio, putting on his pyjamas ready for a long sleep.
But he hasn’t been asleep long when he is awoken by the scream of a young woman in the room next to his. “I must be having a nightmare,” is his first thought, “it often happens when I sleep in the afternoon.”
But the screaming continues so he goes outside to check.
A maid, pale and shaken, tells him she noticed the door of the room open and, going in, found a woman dead in the bed.
“Good grief!” thinks Ricetti, “An assassin in the next room!”