Saturday, October 15, 2016
Fine Bruce DeSilva story graces Providence Noir collection
Back to reality, sort of, after a few days blogging about Dylan and the Nobel Prize, and catching up on some reading of my own, in particular the Ann Hood Providence Noir (Akashic) collection where I found of particular note old friend Bruce DeSilva's story about the famous art heist from the Gardner Museum. Yes, that's in Boston, but he does a great job making this a Providence story: an untenured art-history prof at Brown (I wish he'd set it at a more "Providence" school such as RIC or PC, but whatever) who has loose family connections to the Patriarca crime family gets a strange call asking him to step outside the faculty building where he's prepping for a class; he's escorted into a limo, blindfolded, and taken to an undisclosed locale (he figures out that it's on Federal Hill, near the Patriarca family haunts) where a mobster unknown to him asks him to be an intermediary in returning some of the stole art, in return for a piece of the recovery reward. I'll leave it at that and not divulge any of the intriguing plot twists that follow, right down to the last scene. Bruce has had a lot of success with his excellent crime series set in Providence, centered on an investigative reporter, Mulligan, at a paper that is the Journal (where Bruce and I were colleagues) in all but name. This story presents an interesting twist, as Mulligan appears only as a minor character, not the locus for the story. Another brief mention from this collection: Taylor Polites (whom I don't know) has a good story, 2nd in this collection set in the Armory District, which is unique in this grouping I think in that the central characters are not the usual "noir" types - detectives, criminals, the deranged, the vindictive - but an ordinary young couple caught up in a scene they never sought.