In the murder mystery Pigeon, Yancy Gallagher, a young American artist is invited to be a lecturer at the Italian university where he got his degree. Shortly after his arrival, he hears a radio broadcast about a bizarre murder and begins to suspect that the as-yet unidentified victim is the man he fell in love with during his student days.
The realization that his ex has come to an untimely end, brings back a flood of memories from his first stay in Italy, the friendships he made and the bittersweet romance from which he has never fully recovered. Enlisting the help of his ex’s mother and a sympathetic, small- town detective, he endeavors to prove the dead man’s identity and apprehend his killer.
The closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous his search becomes.
Pigeon by Richard Natale
PUBLISHER: Blazing Heart Publishing
RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2020
GENRE: Blazing LGBT, Historical MM Suspense Romance.
FORMAT: eBook, Kindle Mobi
WORD COUNT: 72,172 words
PAGE COUNT: 289 pages
Here I was again, heartsick. Faced with the real possibility that the messy emotions I was trying to rein in would spill forth. Seated at the kitchen table across from Signora Eugenia, her face creased in anticipation of the news I had come to deliver, I noted that she’d aged little since the last time I saw her. When she had taken stock of my character, intuited the deep affection I felt for her son. Could she now also discern how I’d changed, and not for the better? That I’d become closed and guarded and apprehensive?
On the drive down, I’d gone over how I’d tell her, but sitting across from her, I lost my nerve. She inhaled and smacked the table with the flat of her palms. “Tell me what you have to say. I’m ready,” she announced.
“I don’t want to distress you unnecessarily,” I began. “Perhaps I should start by asking whether you’ve heard from Rudi recently?”
She shook her head in a resigned way. “Mi fa pena, it hurts me to tell you, but he hasn’t contacted me for almost three months,” she said. “It’s very strange and I have been sick with worry. We’ve never been out of touch for more than a week at a time.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied.
Sorry, couldn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling. Like a nightmare that continues to replay in your head long after you’ve awoken. I retrieved several Xerox reproductions from my satchel. I passed her the first, a black and white photo of the raincoat. I asked if she’d seen the newspaper clipping before. She told me that she didn’t read newspapers, and watched television only when her sister, Matilda, invited her over to view some special event program.
“I read the Bible sometimes, but my eyes get tired. The doctor says I’m developing a cataract in the left one.”
“This impermeabile, rain coat, in the picture. Do you recognize it?”
“It resembles the one Rudi wore the last time he visited. Late last winter or early spring, and it was raining. I remember only because he made a big deal about it. He had just returned from London and he said it was a famous English make. He mentioned l’etichetta, the label, but I didn’t pay attention.”
“Burberry, maybe?” I said. She tossed her head as if to say, “possibly.”
“Do you remember the color of the coat?” he added.
“Yes. Verde oliva, olive green. The color suited him. He was a bit sciupato, palido, worn and pale. A little gray in his hair for the first time. On the side,” she said, touching her temple. “I told him he was too young to have gray in his hair. And he said, ‘mama, age is a number. It’s the life you’ve led.’ Why are you showing me this?”
“You’ve heard about the man whose body was discovered in the woods near Rispaldo a few months ago.”
Her fingers clenched the edge of the table. “The one who’d been burned?” she said. “Of course, everyone has. You don’t think it could be my Rudi?”
I didn’t want to jump the gun, so I merely shrugged. “They found this letter in the coat pocket,” I said, sliding the second sheet across the table. “Could the handwriting be his?”
She pored over the letter, mumbling the words as she read them. Then she read it again. And a third time. “It might be his hand,” she said. “But since this is una cosa grave, a serious matter, I want to look at it some more before I give a definite answer.”
“But you’re saying it could be his handwriting?” I said, this being the last chance that I’d made a terrible mistake.
“It’s difficult to say, because, first of all, I don’t want it to be true,” she said. “But more than that, the reason I’m not a hundred percent certain, is that the letter appears to have been written in fretta, in a hurry. Still, I recognize the formal way he writes capital letters. And the phrasing. I can almost hear his voice.”
The admission seemed to drain her and she lowered her head and took several deep breaths before placing a hand across her bosom. “What makes you believe the dead man is my son?”
“I think the letter was written to me.”