The Death Of A Mafia Don (Michele Ferrara Series Book 3)

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Without a doubt, costume is a primary signifier of mafia identity in cinema and while the retro cycle of gangster films in the s are significant examples, it is also evident the same sentiments of hegemonic masculinity are prevalent across all modern gangster films since The Godfather ; for they all wish to rearticulate a well-defined gender hierarchy and a belief in family and business. Lew Landers, , but in post- Godfather films the associations between gangster activity and legitimate business practices through the symbolic demeanour of the businessman has become iconic.

A Death in Tuscany: Michele Ferrara: Book 2 by Michele Giuttari, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

What is most important about this image of the gangster is that it is unquestionably male. In short, the post- Godfather gangster genre may not always locate its narrative in the s, but its thematic heart is rooted in the liberal ideologies of that era. It is the era where real-life mobsters such as Frank Costello testified in the Kefauver Committee hearings and the breadth and strength of mafia business was unveiled for the first time. Cinematic mobsters ever since have been carved from such testimony that hinted at organisation, loyalties and networks, but successfully avoided explicit detail.

In consequence, all proceeding gangster and mafia narratives in American cinema can be said to have no recourse to reality, because the myths are so joyously accepted. They offer a framework for understanding American business, family and social values in a less fractured and complex manner than can be found in more recent, late-capitalist eras. The fact that modern or late American capitalism is continuing to undermine the principals of pure, or neo-capitalism upon which this identity relies is a complex and under-discussed aspect of film studies, even when focused on organized crime.

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Their ethnic identities provide a link to old world traditions, while their association with capitalist enterprise endears them to the American mindset. We do not have to search far to find evidence that America remains nostalgic for the patriarchal business leader.

The prevailing notion in America that strong leaders are always male is as dominant now as it has always been. In this context, it is easy to see how films may use the rhetoric of family connections in business as a reactionary strategy to reassert stability in an increasingly complex environment. While female characters can be found in every gangster film, somewhere within the diegesis, from the classical period in Hollywood through today, they have yet to be central protagonists.

While one could look at the women in gangster films in a somewhat blanketed and simplistic way, with the women serving as nothing more than wives, daughters, and mothers, it can also be argued that a few gangster films do allow the female characters to negotiate with their position in male-dominated and domesticated spaces, but it is always within the prevailing ideological constraints of hegemonic masculinity and never in a way that completely overturns the traditional gender hierarchy that underpins the gangster genre as a whole. For example, in the first scene to feature the wives in the film, the women are shown getting their hair and nails done at a salon, while they ardently talk about food and gossip.

The two lead female characters in Married to the Mob are able to negotiate a more central place in the narrative and are given agency beyond the trivialities of domestic life or gossip about their husbands. Angela Michelle Pfeiffer and Connie Mercedes Ruehl are given extensive storylines and character development over the course of the narrative.

The fight escalates when their pre-teen son Joey Anthony J. Nici finds the gun in a cabinet and carelessly waves it around. The wives have a significant impact on the narrative in The Funeral and push beyond the traditional limits of the gangster genre. However, once again, their roles are simply to lament their limited positions rather than to push for significant change. Jean Tempio Annabella Sciorra is completely aware of her situation as a mob wife and mother of sons. In fact, she asserts they should throw a party for Helen Gretchen Mol to celebrate the fact that her boyfriend Johnny Vincent Gallo died before Helen could also become such a wife.

This film suggests women are complicit in the structures that confine them for they are irresistibly drawn to the patriarchal business leader as a symbol of strength and family security. While the wives in The Funeral are not happy or successful figures, they are as significant in the history of the genre as Angela or Connie in Married to the Mob , for they speak the truth of the false romanticism of the mafia and the inability for women to change it from within. Therefore, while The Funeral is a successful critique of socio-political and religious ideologies that promote patriarchal family values it does not provide a positive alternative.

The film invites audiences to sympathise with the wives who, we would argue, are the eyes and ears of reason and common sense. However, the film remains nostalgic for the brothers who operate in the business world of reputation and shoulder the burden of violence. He does have the ability to be in the wrong place at the right time, however, and is very good at stumbling along to a clever conclusion of the mystery. There are seven books in the series, that is often referred to as the Art History Mystery Series.

The last book was published in and I doubt there will be any more in the series. Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome, the seat of the Italian government and a setting that occurs from time to time in Pears' books. Not only is the painting in question gone from the site, it has been swiftly purchased, restored, auctioned, and installed in Rome's National Museum.

But when the recovered Raphael is just as swiftly destroyed in a fire, Argyll begins to suspect its authenticity…and the innocence of every person in its path. What begins as a simple political mission becomes a dangerous quest for a missing portrait attributed to Titian. She enlists the aid of art dealer Jonathan Argyll, who has become her friend, despite her signals that she would welcome something more.

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The museum's owner is murdered , a Bernini bust disappears, and a friend of Jonathan's is suspected of the crimes. While awaiting the arrival of his friends from the Italian National Art Theft Squad, Jonathan finds himself targeted by the killer. More romantically crossed signals between Flavia and hapless Jonathan.

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The client, however, ends up dead. Bottando's right hand, the beautiful Flavia di Stefano, quickly locates a possible culprit but he's in England. Across town, her husband, art historian Jonathan Argyll, begins an investigation of his own, tracing the past of a small Renaissance painting -- an Immaculate Conception -- owned by Flavia's mentor, retired general Taddeo Bottando. My list of this author's books at Amazon. Visit my Italophile Book Reviews page for this series. Magdalen Nabb and her Marshal Guarnaccia British expatriate Magdalen Nabb wrote a police procedural series set in her adopted hometown, Florence, featuring Marshal Guarnaccia of the Carabinieri.

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He's a modest, unambitious type who nevertheless succeeds with plodding police work, moments of inspiration, and deep compassion. The Carabinieri are actually a branch of the Italian military that reports directly to the Italian head of state, the President. They were set up soon after Italian unification and patterned on the French Gendarmerie. To read more about Ms. Nabb and her books , click here to link to her page on a British mystery site. Nabb passed away in You can read a lovely endorsement of her work here. And like all the books on this page, I suggest you look for them, at wonderfully reasonable prices, secondhand, at Better World Books , who ship worldwide for free. Marshal Guarnaccia's office is part of Pitti Palace in Florence.

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It's the part protruding on the left, a Carabinieri office, in the books, I'm not sure in real life. Carabinieri and their "Gazzella" and helicopter, like the ones used by Marshal Guarnaccia in Florence, click on the helicopter to go to the official Carabinieri site in Italian. I've read Cosi Fan Tutti , but it didn't make me a fan of the series.

Rather too butch and lacking in compassion for my tastes. To read more about Mr. Dibdin and his fictional police inspector Mr. Zen, click here.

This links you to Mr. Dibdin's page on his publisher's site. The first three books have been adapted to television as films for British television. Oddly, unlike the British adaptation of the Swedish 'Wallander' mystery books, where all the actors are British, the adaptation of 'Zen', as it is called, mixes British actors with Italian actresses. Sadly, Mr. Dibdin passed away in Castagnetti Orphaned, school of hard knocks trained, Private Investigator Castagnetti Casta is a stubborn, iconoclastic hero.

He works cases his own way, sometimes to the detriment of his clients. He operates in Italy's north and the books are set in present day Italy, with all its warts and charms. Death of a Showgirl by Tobias Jones. The subtitle of Death of a Showgirl is What is the price of fame?